Hilton, Walter - Describes the third stage of the spiritual path
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Quoted in R C Zaehner – Mysticism Sacred and Profane
The third degree of contemplation is the highest that is attainable in this life. Both knowing and loving go to make it up. It consists in knowing God perfectly and in loving God perfectly, and that is when a man's soul is first cleansed of all sins and is formed anew, through the fuIness of virtue, into the image of Jesus and then, at the visitation of grace, is withdrawn from all earthly and fleshly affections and from vain thoughts and musings and bodily matters and is, as it were, rapt out of his bodily senses; and then, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he is enlightened so that he can see by his understanding the truth which is God and see spiritual things with a soft sweet burning love in him, which is so perfect that by the ravishing of this love he is united for a time to God and is conformed to the likeness of the Trinity.