‘Love is strong as death,’ since Christ’s love is the death of death. For this reason he says: ‘Death, I shall be your death; hell, I shall grip you fast.’ The love, too, with which Christ is loved by us is itself strong as death, since it is a kind of death, being the extinction of our old life, the abolition of vice, and the putting aside of dead works…
That is why he says: ‘Set me as a seal on your heart.’ As though to say: Love me, as I love you; have me in your mind, in your memory, in your desire; in your sighing, your groaning, your weeping... For who loves you as I love you? Who created you, if not I? Who redeemed you, if not I?
Lord, take away from me the heart of stone, a heart shrunken and uncircumcised — take it away and give me a new heart, a heart of flesh, a clean heart. You cleanse our heart and love the heart that is clean — possess my heart and dwell in it, both holding it and filling it. You surpass what is highest in me, and yet are within my inmost self! Pattern of beauty and seal of holiness, mould my heart in your likeness: mould my heart under your mercy, God of my heart and God my portion for ever. Amen.
– Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury (c. 1125 – 1190) from Thursday’s Office of Readings