All that is said above and whatever is necessary for salvation
cannot be better, more immediately and more securely achieved than
by love, through which whatever is lacking of what is necessary
for salvation can be made good.
In love we possess the fullness of all good and the realisation of
our highest longing is nor denied us. After all it is love alone
by which we turn back to God, are changed into God, cleave to God,
and are united to God in such a way that we become one spirit with
him, and are by him and through him made blessed here by grace and
hereafter in glory.
Now love is such that it cannot rest except in the beloved, but it
does when it wins the beloved in full and peaceful possession. For
love, which itself is charity, is the way of God to men and the
way of man to God. God cannot house where there is no love. So if
we have love, we have God, for God is love. Furthermore nothing is
sharper than love, nothing is more subtle, nothing more
penetrating. It will not rest until it has by its very nature
penetrated the whole power, the depth and the totality of the
loved one. It wants to make itself one with the beloved, and
itself, if it were possible, to be what the beloved is too.
Thus it cannot bear that anything should stand between itself and
the beloved object, which is God, but pressed eagerly towards him.
As a result it never rests until it has left everything else
behind and come to him alone.
For the nature of love is of a unitive and transforming power
which transforms the lover into what he loves, or alternatively,
makes the lover one with the other, and vice versa, in so far as
This is manifest in the first place with regard to the mental
powers, depending on how much the beloved is in the lover, in
other words depending on how sweetly and delightfully the beloved
is recalled in the mind of the lover, and in direct proportion,
that is, with how much the lover strives to grasp all the things
that relate to the beloved not just superficially but intimately,
and to enter, as it were, into his innermost secrets.
It is also manifest with regard to the emotional and affective
powers when the beloved is said to be in the lover, in other words
when the desire to please the beloved is found in the will and
established within by the happy enjoyment of him. Alternatively,
the lover is in the beloved when he is united with him by all his
desire and compliance in agreement with the beloved's willing and
not willing, and finds his own pleasure and pain in that of the
For love draws the lover out of himself (since love is strong as
death), and establishes him in the beloved, causing him to cleave
closely to him. For the soul is more where it loves than where it
lives, since it is in what it loves in accordance with its very
nature, understanding and will, while it is in where it lives only
with regard to form, which is even true for animals as well.
There is nothing therefore which draws us away from the exterior
senses to within ourselves, and from there to Jesus Christ and
things divine, more than the love of Christ and the desire for the
sweetness of Christ, for the experience, awareness and enjoyment
of the presence of Christ's divinity. For there is nothing but the
power of love which can lead the soul from the things of earth to
the lofty summit of heaven.
Nor can anyone attain the supreme beatitude unless summoned to it
by love and yearning. Love after all is the life of the soul, the
wedding garment and the soul's perfection, containing all the law
and the prophets and our Lord's teaching. That is why Paul says to
the Romans, Love is the fulfilling of the law, (Rom. 13.8) and in
the first letter to Timothy, The end of the commandment is love.
(1 Timothy 1.5)