Furthermore you should not be much concerned about tangible
devotion, the experience of sweetness or tears, but rather that
you should be mentally united with God within yourself by a good
will in your intellect. For what pleases God above everything is a
mind free from imaginations, that is images, ideas and the
representations of created things. It befits a monk to be
indifferent to everything created so that he can turn easily and
barely to God alone within himself, be empty for him and cleave to
For this reason deny yourself so that you can follow Christ, the
Lord your God, in nakedness, who was himself poor, obedient,
chaste, humble and suffering, and in whose life and death many
were scandalised, as is clear from the Gospel accounts.
After all, a soul which is separated from the body pays no
attention to what is done to its abandoned body - whether it is
burned, hanged, or reviled, and is in no way saddened by the
afflictions imposed on the body, but thinks only of the Now of
eternity and the One Thing which the Lord calls necessary in the
Gospel. So you too should treat your body as if you were no longer
in the body, but think always of the eternity of your soul in God,
and direct your thoughts carefully to that One Thing of which
Christ said, For one thing is necessary. (Luke 10.42) You will
experience because of it great grace, helping you towards the
acquisition of nakedness of mind and simplicity of heart.
Indeed this One Thing is very much present with you if you have
made yourself bare of imaginations and all other entanglements,
and you will soon experience that this is so - namely when you can
be empty and cleave to God with a naked and resolute mind. In this
way you will remain unconquered in whatever may be inflicted on
you, like the holy martyrs, fathers, the elect, and indeed all the
saints who despised everything and only thought of their souls'
security and eternity in God. Armed in this way within, and united
to God through a good will, they spurned everything of the world
as if their souls were already separated from their bodies.
Consider from this how much a good will united with God is capable
of, when by means of its pressing towards God the soul is
effectively separated the body in spirit and looks on its outward
man as it were from a distance, and as not belonging to it. In
this way it despises everything that is inflicted on itself or on
its flesh as if they were happening to someone else, or not to a
human being at all. For He that is united with the Lord is one
Spirit, (1 Corinthians 6.17) that is with him. So you should never
dare to think or imagine anything before the Lord your God that
you would blush to be heard or seen in before men, since your
respect for God should be even greater than for them.
It is a matter of justice in fact that all your thoughts and
thinking should be raised to God alone, and the highest point of
your mind should only be directed to him as if nothing existed but
him, and holding to him may enjoy the perfect beginning of the
life to come.