Angela of Foligno
This searching and beholding (whereby God is seen in such a manner that the soul can behold naught else) is so profound that much doth it grieve me that I cannot make manifest aught whatsoever of it, seeing that it is not a thing the which can be touched or imagined or judged of. Moreover, the soul doth know in many other ways that God hath without doubt entered into it, of the which ways I will now speak of two.
One is an holy unction which doth so instantly revive the soul, make meek all the members of the body, and cause them to agree together with the soul, that they cannot be touched or offended by anything whatsoever the which could even in the smallest degree agitate the soul. Therefore doth it feel and hear that God speaketh within it, and by means of this great and in all ways unspeakable unction the soul doth understand with the utmost certainty that God is within it, because no saint nor any angel in Paradise would have power to grant this. But seeing how that it is a thing the which cannot be expressed, it grieveth me that I can find no words wherewith to describe it in comparison of that which it truly is.
Wherefore I pray God that He will pardon me, for this is not of mine own will, and if I were able and if it were pleasing unto God, I would make manifest somewhat of His goodness. The other way whereby the soul knoweth that God is within it is by an embrace which He doth give unto the soul. There is neither father, nor mother, nor son, nor any other person whatsoever who can embrace the object beloved with so great a love as that wherewith God embraceth the soul. For He doth embrace it with such love and draw it unto Himself with such sweetness and gentleness that methinketh there is not a man in the world who can declare it, nor express it, nor believe it unless he hath himself experienced it ; and although he might perchance divine somewhat of this love, yet could he not possibly know it as it truly is. Of a surety, God doth implant most sweet love in the soul, the which doth make it burn for Christ alone. And it beareth with it so great a light (whereby it understandeth the fulness of the goodness of God which it experienceth within itself) that it hath understanding of much more than it feeleth within itself.
Then hath it the assurance and certitude that Christ dwelleth within it ; but all that we can say is as nothing in comparison with that which it really is. Then the soul hath no more tears, whether of joy or of sorrow or of any other kind, seeing that when the soul hath tears it is in a lower state. For God poureth into the soul an exceeding great sweetness, in a measure so abundant that it can ask nothing more yea, verily, it would be in Paradise if this should endure, its joy being so great that it filleth the whole body ; and all injury which the soul suffereth, whether by deeds or words, is esteemed as naught and is turned into sweetness.