Exile of the Soul

Whenever your consideration wanders from these things to lesser and visible things, whether in search of knowledge or something for practical use, or to do your duty in administration, you go into exile.  You do not do so if your consideration concentrates on these higher things, so that through them it seeks what is above.  To consider in this way is to come home.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, On Consideration V.1 (Classics of Western Spirituality translation)

toties peregrinatur consideratio tua, quoties ab illis rebus ad ista deflectitur inferiora et visibilia, sive intuenda ad notitiam, sive appetenda ad usum, sive pro officio disponenda vel actitanda.  Si tamen ita versatur in his, ut per haec illa requirat, haud procul exsulat.  Sic considerare repatriare est.

My more slavishly literal translation:

So often does your consideration wander, as often as it is deflected from those matters to things inferior and visible, things to be regarded for notice or to be sought for use or to be disposed or done for your office.  Yet if it [your consideration] so dwells on these [lower] things, so that through them it seeks those [higher things], by no means is it far off in exile.  To so consider is to come home.

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