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Letter 51 from book (The Letters of John of Dalyatha)



Translatet by Mary Hansbury



1. A brother told me: "Indeed when the remembrance of Paradise lifted up my soul to observe it, in the vision my soul became like Adam and was amazed. And again from there my soul was led by the power of the Spirit to marvel at the living and vivifying Paradise whose limit is unreachable and whose delight I find within me; then I was stunned by the diligent ascetics in whom is still found, while meditating on Paradise, an impulse arousing desire for a vision of that earth-bound paradise."
 2. Blessed is he who fixes his eyes on You constantly, 0 my Paradise who appear to me within me! 0 Tree of Life, You inflame my heart every moment with the desire for You, and change my countenance by the power of your love, holding my intellect in astonishment at the rays of your beauty. Blessed is that one who seeks You in himself always: for from Himself, Life flows for him for his delight. Blessed is the one who carries in his heart the remembrance of You at all times, for also his soul is inebriated with your sweetness! Blessed is he who gazes upon You continually within himself, for his heart is enlightened so as to see hidden things. Blessed is the one who seeks You in his being, for his own heart grows warm with your fire, and his flesh with his bones burns in its purifying fervor.

3. Blessed is the one whose thoughts are silenced by reflection on You, for the Spirit pours forth streams of Life on him for his own delight and for those who thirst for the vision of You. Blessed is the one whose cheeks are burning with the tears of your love, for by its drops the rational lands which bum with wicked fire are moistened so that they might produce fruits of joy which those who consume them do not die! Blessed is the one who mixes care about You with his sleep, for the demons who defile the lazy with foul images depart quaking from him. Blessed is the one who makes his bed in the incessant admiration of your mysteries and dwells silently in it in the wonder they produce, for to gladden the heart of the diligent it also gives forth the Fragrance of Life produced by your Holy Spirit, Guardian of the purity of those who love Him. Blessed is the one who forgets about worldly converse to speak with You, for all his needs are filled by You.

4. You are his food and drink; You are his joy and his exultation. You are his garment, in your glory his nakedness is clothed. You are his dwelling and his resting place, and he always goes within You to be protected. You are his sun and his day, and in your light he sees hidden mysteries. You are the father who generated him, and like a child he calls You: Father! You placed the Spirit of your Son in his heart, and He gave him the confidence to ask of You all which is yours, as a son to his father. He is always in your company, because apart from You he knows no father.

5. You are united to his soul; You are mingled with his members; you shine in his intellect and take it captive to make him marvel at the vision of You. You silence the stirrings of his soul by the movement of your love and You transform his carnal desire by your great sweetness. He smells your holy fragrance, as a child breathes the scent of his father. The fragrance of your grace exudes from his body, as the scent of his wet-nurse from a child. You always console him with the vision of Yourself; when he eats, he sees You in his food; when he drinks, You sparkle in his drink; when he weeps, You appear in his tears. Wherever he looks, he sees You there: so that everywhere you increase his bliss, and there is no one who does not call him blessed, except the one who is utterly deprived of blessing.

6. My Lord and my Life, fellowship with You has captivated my mind because besides You I have no companion. What will I do? My soul thirsts for You and my flesh seeks You. However, an ascent to You is found in conversing with You, and a vision of your countenance is given through meditating on You.