AngelaFoliginoThe soul, therefore, hears and understands only those matters into the inner meaning of which it can penetrate.

For when the soul is illumined by the presence of God and reposes in God’s bosom and God is in the soul, then is it exalted above itself and hears and rejoices and rests in that divine goodness, concerning which none can report because it is above all intelligence and all manner of speech and above all words.

But herein does the soul swim in joyfulness and in knowledge, and, thus enlightened, it comprehends the meaning of all the difficult and obscure sayings of Christ.

[…] Sometimes the soul is suddenly exalted unto God with such joy that, if it were to endure, I do think that the body would not be able to bear it, but would lose all its members and its sensation.

God often treats thus with the soul and in the soul, and when the soul desires to hold Him fast He instantly departs.

There remains, nevertheless, great joy and assurance in the soul, truly such great joy that it in no way doubts that God is still present, but there is nothing which I can liken unto that seeing and hearing, nor am I able to describe it.

[…] You must know…that there is only one thing necessary unto us, which is God, to find God and wholly fix our minds upon Him. This is necessary unto us.

But in order that our minds may be the better fixed upon God it is needful that we should cast off all perverse and useless habits, all superfluous familiarity with men and women of whatsoever nature, all superfluous knowledge and the desire to hear many new things, all superfluous labours and occupations.

And, briefly, it is needful that man should put away from him all things which do distract his mind.

Then must he instantly plunge into the abyss of his wretchedness and bethink him what things he hath done in times past, what he is doing in the present, and what he will do in the future, and how that his fate in the next world will be according unto his deserts.

Then comes death, which will be unto all eternity. And no day and no night must pass wherein he doth not think upon these things.

Wherefore must he constantly think and meditate and use all his endeavour to comprehend the mercy of God, how that He did most mercifully ordain that Christ Jesus should suffer all this wretchedness with him, and he must take heed that he never forgets this great benefit.

Angela of Foligno (1248-1309): Book of Divine Consolation, pp. 36-39.