Dear Friends in Christ,
‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest for a while’
‘Grant me most dear and loving Jesus, to rest in you above created things; above health and beauty; above all glory and honour; above all power and dignity; above all knowledge and skill; above all praise and fame; above all sweetness and consolation; above all hope and promise; above all merit and desire; above all gifts and favours that you can bestow and shower upon us; above all joy and jubilation that the mind can conceive and know; above angels and archangels and all the hosts of heaven; above all things visible and invisible; and above everything that is not yourself, O my God.’
O Lord my God, you transcend all things; you alone care most high, most mighty, most sufficient and complete, most sweet and comforting. You alone are most full of beauty and glory, in whom all good things in their perfection exist, both now and ever have been, ever will be. All, therefore, is too small and unsatisfying that you can give me beside yourself or that you can reveal and promise me of yourself unless I can see and fully possess you. For my heart cannot rest nor be wholly content until it rests in you, rising above all your gifts and creatures.’
‘O Lord Jesus Christ, spouse of the soul, lover of purity and Lord of creation, who will give me wings of perfect liberty, that I may fly to you and be at rest? When shall I be set free, and taste your sweetness, O Lord my God? When shall I become recollected in you, that for love of you I may no longer be conscious of myself? But of you alone in a manner not known to all men, and above all perception and measure…?
‘Come to me, Lord, come, for without you no day or hour is happy; without you my table is without its guest, for you alone are my joy. Sadness is my lot, and I am like a man imprisoned and loaded with chains, until you refresh me with the light of your presence, and show me your face as my friend. Let others seek whom they will besides you, but nothing ever can or will give me joy but yourself alone, my God, my hope and my eternal salvation.’ (Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ)