Although the Word has come to me, I have never been conscious of the moment of his coming. I perceived his presence, I remembered afterwards that he had been with me; sometimes I had the presentiment that he would come, but I was never conscious of his coming or going. And where he come from when he visits my soul, and where he goes, and by what means he enters and goes out, I admit that I do not know even now. As John says, You do not know where he comes from or where he goes.
You ask then how I know he was present, when his ways can in no way be traced? He is life and power, and as soon as he enters in, he awakens my slumbering soul; he stirs and soothes and pierces my heart; for before it was hard as stone, and diseased.
When the Bridegroom, the Word, came to me, he never made known his coming by any signs, not by sight, not by sound, not by touch. It was not by any movement of his that I recognized his coming; it was not by any of my senses that I perceived he had penetrated to the depths of my being. Only by the movement of my heart, as I have told you, did I perceive his presence; and I knew the power of his might because my faults were put to flight and my human yearnings were brought into subjection. I have marveled at the depth of his wisdom when my secret faults have been revealed and made visible. At the very slightest amendment of my way of life, I have experienced his goodness and mercy. In the renewal and remaking of the spirit of my mind–that is, my inmost being–I have perceived the excellence of his glorious beauty.
As often as he slips away from me, so often shall I call him back. From the burning desire of my heart I will not cease to call him, begging him to return, as if after someone who is departing, and I will implore him to give back to me the joy of his salvation and restore himself to me.
From Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermon 74: II, On the Song of Songs (CF 40, pp 89-92)