Evelyn Underhill writes about the lives of great souls from all religious traditions (and none at all) who have been motivated to great disciplines, survived hardships, seen visions, and fell back into the “dark night of the soul” At the end of the journey, each of them is “back where she started, and knows the place for the first time.” The mundane is joined to the sacred, and they find enduring joy in lives of simple service.
That fruition of joy of constitutes the interior life of mystic souls immersed in the Absolute—the translation of the Beatific Vision into the terms of a supernal feeling-state—is often realized in the secret experience of those same mystics, as the perennial possession of a childlike gaiety, an inextinguishable gladness of heart. The transfigured souls move to the measures of a “love dance” which persists in mirth without comparison, through every outward hardship and tribulation. They enjoy the high spirits peculiar to high spirituality: and shock the world by a delicate playfulness, instead of exhibiting the morose resignation which it feels to be proper to the “spiritual life.”… Moreover, the most clear-sighted amongst the mystics declare such joy to be an
implicit of Reality.
“Men are made for happiness, and any one who is completely happy has a right to say to himself, ‘I am doing God’s will on earth.’ All the righteous, all the saints, all the holy martyrs were happy.”
— Dostoyevsky (Brothers Karamazov)