And here I must say a few words concerning certain things which some reckon as virtues, although they are nothing of the sort—I mean ecstasies, trances, rhapsodies, deific unions, extraordinary transformations, and the like, which are dwelt on in some books, and which promise to raise the soul to a purely intellectual contemplation, an altogether supernatural mental altitude, and a life of pre-eminent excellence. But I would have you see, my child, that these perfections are not virtues, they are rather rewards which God gives to virtues, or perhaps, more correctly speaking, tokens of the joys of everlasting life, occasionally granted to persons in order to kindle in them a desire for the fulness of joy which is only to be found in Paradise. But we must not aspire to such graces, which are in nowise necessary to us in order to love and serve God, our only lawful ambition. Indeed, for the most part, these graces are not to be acquired by labour or industry, and that because they are rather passions than actions, which we may receive, but cannot create.
— St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life