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The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, by Jan van Ruysbroeck, [1916], at





Here there begins an eternal hunger, which shall never more be satisfied; it is an inward craving and hankering of the loving power and the created spirit after an untreated Good. And since the spirit longs for fruition, and is invited and urged thereto by God, it must always desire its fulfilment. Behold, here there begins an eternal craving and continual yearning in eternal insatiableness. All such are the poorest of all men living; for they are avid and greedy, and their hunger is insatiable. Whatever they eat or drink, they shall never be satisfied, for this hunger is eternal. For a created vessel cannot contain an uncreated Good: and hence there is here an eternal, hungry craving without satisfaction, and God poured forth above all and yet staying it not. Here are great dishes of food and drink, of which no one knows save he who tastes them: but full satisfaction in fruition is the dish which is lacking there, and therefore this hunger is ever renewed. Yet, in the touch, rivers of honey, full of all delights, flow forth; for the spirit tastes these riches in all the ways which it can conceive and apprehend; but all this is in a creaturely way and below God, and hence there remains an eternal hunger and impatience. Though God gave to such a man all the gifts which are possessed by all the saints, and everything that He is able to give, but withheld Himself, the gaping desire of the spirit would remain hungry and unsatisfied. The inward stirring and touching of God makes us hungry and yearning; for the Spirit of God hunts our spirit: and the more it touches it, the greater our hunger and our craving. And this is the life of love in its highest working, above reason and above understanding; for reason can here neither give nor take away from love, for our love is touched by the Divine love. And as I understand it, here there can never more be separation from God. God's touch within us, forasmuch as we feel it, and our own loving craving, these are both created and creaturely; and therefore they may grow and increase as long as we live.

Next: Chapter LIV. Of A Loving Strife Between the Spirit of God and Our Spirit