Nightlong have I sought him whom my soul loves. It is a great good to seek God; in my opinion the soul knows no greater blessing. It is the first of its gifts and the final stage in its progress. It is inferior to none, and it yields place to none. What could be superior to it when nothing has a higher place? What could claim a higher place, when it is the consummation of all things? What virtue can be attributed to anyone who does not seek God? What boundary can be set for anyone who does seek him?
The Psalmist says, Seek his face always. Nor, I think, will the soul cease to seek him even when it has found him. It is not with steps of the feet that God is sought but with the heart’s desire; and when the soul happily finds him, its desire is not quenched but kindled.
Does the consummation of joy bring about the consuming of desire? Rather it is oil poured on the flames. So it is. Joy will be fulfilled, but there will be no end to desire, and, therefore, no end to the search.
Think, if you can, of this eagerness to see God as not caused by his absence, for he is always present; and think of the desire for God as without fear of failure, for grace is abundantly present.
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 84 On the Song of Songs, CF 40, pp 188-189.