Why, in your opinion, do dogs more often lose an animal’s track and scent in springtime than at other times? According to both huntsmen and philosophers, it is because the grass and flowers are then in full vigor, so that the various odours they send forth so clog the dogs’ sense of smell that they can neither pick up nor follow the scent of their quarry among the many different odours the earth breathes forth. So too those souls which continually multiply desires plans and projects never desire holy love of heaven as they ought, nor can they properly sense the amorous track and scent of the divine beloved, who is, “like a roe, or a young hart.” (Cant. 2;9)
Lilies do not have a set season, but bloom early or late according as they are planted more or less deeply in the earth. If they are pushed down only three fingers’ length into the earth, they bloom quickly, but if they are put down six or nine fingers deep, they always bloom proportionately late. If a heart that strives after divine love is plunged deeply into earthly, temporal affairs, it will flower slowly and with difficulty. But if it remains in the world only so much as the condition requires, you shall see it bloom quickly in love and send out its pleasing aroma.
For this reason the saints retired into solitude so that they might be released from worldly cares and thus might more ardently give themselves over to celestial love. For this reason the sacred spouse closed one of her eyes so that she might more strongly concentrate her sight solely in the other, and by this means aim more accurately at the center of her beloved’s heart, which she desired to wound with love. (Cant. 4;9) For this reason she keeps her hair so plaited and gathered together in a tress that she seems to have only one single hair, which she uses as a chain to bind and carry away the heart of her spouse, whom she makes a slave to her love.
Souls who desire for good and all to love God, restrain their mind from thinking about worldly things so as to employ it more ardently in meditation on divine things, and they gather up all their efforts into their one sole intention of loving God alone. One who desires a thing but does not desire it because of God, thereby desires God the less.
A religious once asked the Blessed Giles what he could do to become more pleasing to God. Giles answered by singing: “One to one, one to one,” that is; “One only souls to one only God.” Many desires and many loves within a heart are like many children at one breast: They cannot all be fed at once, so they press forward, now one, now another in rivalry, and at last cause the fount to be emptied and dried up. Whoever aims at God’s love must sedulously reserve to its leisure, his mind and his affections.