The Twelve Patriarchs; The Mystical Ark; Book Three of the Trinity

By Richard of St. Victor; Grover A. Zinn | Go to book overview

extirpated vain disquiet when he admonished his hearers, saying: "Do not fear those who kill the body, for they are not able to kill the soul" (Matt. 10:28). We rise above one of these by abstaining. We trample the other by being patient. And so by means of Gad false delight is extirpated; by means of Asher, vain disquiet. These are Gad and Asher who exclude false joy and introduce true joy. Now I think, following this there will be no question why this particular son is called Issachar if Issachar is certainly interpreted "reward." For what else do we seek with so many and so great labors? What, I say, other than true joy do we await with such persevering forbearance ? We receive as it were a kind of pledge, like a kind of first fruits of this reward, as often as we enter into that inner joy of our Lord and taste it partially.


CHAPTER XXXVII

The comparison of interior and exterior sweetness

Sacred Scripture calls this tasting of inner sweetness now a tasting, now intoxication, so that whether it appears small or great, it is certainly small in comparison to future fullness but great in comparison to any earthly enjoyment. In fact, the present delight of spiritual men, however much it grows, is found small when compared to the joys of future life; nevertheless in comparison with it the pleasantness of all outer delights is nothing. O marvelous sweetness, sweetness so great, sweetness so small! In what way are you not great? You exceed all earthly sweetness. In what way are you not small? You enjoy scarcely a modest drop from that fullness. You instill in minds a certain small portion from so great a sea of happiness. Yet you fully intoxicate the mind that you fill. Certainly so little from so much is deservedly called a taste. That which alienates the mind from itself is no less deservedly called intoxication. Therefore it can rightly be called both a taste and intoxication. "Taste," says the Prophet, "and see that the Lord is sweet" (Ps. 33:9). And the Apostle Peter: "If nevertheless you taste that the Lord is sweet" (1 Pet. 2:3). And concerning intoxication, the Prophet again: "You have visited the earth, and you have intox

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