Notes from my reading of the Ancrene Wisse, a medieval guide for anchorites (early 13th century); taken during my study at Oxford, summer 2007. Here's a lovely meditation on the priority of the heart, and the tenderness of the One we seek in prayer:
"'Protect your heart well with every kind of defense, daughter,' says Solomon, 'for if she is well locked away, the soul's life is in her,' (Proverbs 4.23). The Heart is a most wild beast and makes many a light leap out. As St. Gregory says, nichil corde fugiatus, 'nothing flies out of a person sooner than their own heart. . . .'"
"'Do what you should here and you will be fair elsewhere, not only among women but among angels. You, my worldly spouse,' says our Lord, 'will you follow the goats, which are the lusts of the flesh, to the field?'--the field is desire's breeding ground. 'Will you follow goats through the field in this way? You should beseech me for kisses within your heart's bower, as my lover, who says to me in the book of love: 'Let my lover kiss me with the kids of his mouth, the sweetest of mouths,' (Canticles 1.1). This kiss, dear sisters, is a sweetness and a delight of the heart so immeasurably sweet that every taste of the world is bitter compared with it. But our Lord kisses no soul with this kiss who loves anything but him, and those things it helps to have for his sake."