The following essay is from http://www.verba.org.uk/inner_locution.htm
Inner Locution is the name given to words arising within us, seemingly from some divine inspiration or revelation. These events are common throughout history, across cultures and spiritual traditions, and they are deserving of serious study.
They may take different forms but because of their mystical nature they can cause problems for those who wish to ratify or prove such events as valid. It is not the purpose of this site to write an essay explaining the various opinions on the subject; you can find these elsewhere on the Web.
The intention here is to present one example while affirming that we have, firmly in mind, the teachings of St John of the Cross who analysed inner locutions and established three kinds. He warned his readers of the dangers of claiming such events for one’s own egoistic gratification. Hence this site aims to offer this example of ‘Inner Locution’ as a simple service to those who seek a full, spiritual life and we leave it to others to make any necessary judgments. If any word or phrase ‘lights up’ for you then that is validation enough.
St John of the Cross was a Sixteenth Century, Spanish, mystical poet who wrote eloquently of his spiritual experiences or ‘awakenings’. In the ‘The Living Flame of Love’ he wrote:
‘How gently and lovingly
You wake in my heart
Where in secret you dwell alone’
He then expands on these words and writes:
‘For this awakening is a movement of the Word in the substance of the soul, containing such grandeur, dominion and glory, and intimate sweetness……..’
This ‘Word’ in its essence is beyond speech but, according to the needs of the moment, it may be expressed in three different ways according to St John of the Cross: as ‘Successive words’, ‘Formal words’ and ‘Substantial words’.
He explains these three forms in another work, ‘The Ascent of Mount Carmel’, and states that only the third form can be free of exploitation by the ego.
When the mind is illuminated, through a period of deep recollection, so it is able to reason clearly and in this state:
‘A person will reason about the subject, proceeding from thought to thought, forming precise words and judgments, deducing and discovering some unknown truth, with so much ease and clarity, that it will seem to him that he is doing nothing and that another person is interiorly reasoning, answering and teaching him.’
These arise suddenly at any time of day and night without a period of deep recollection:
‘Sometimes, these words are very explicit and at other times not. They are like ideas spoken to the spirit, either as a reply to something or in another manner. At times only one word is spoken, and then again, more than one; sometimes the locutions are successive, like the others, for they may endure while the soul is being taught, or while the subject is being discussed. All these words come without intervention of the spirit because they are received as though one person were speaking to another.’
These issue from that deep centre of the soul where the ‘human’ mingles with the ‘divine’ and where no impurity is possible. With the previous two expressions of the Word the ego can claim the power of the revelation but in this deep centre no demonic force can penetrate; it is an area of the soul normally hidden from ourselves. The word arising in this place ‘does more good for a person than a whole lifetime of deeds.’
This is because the word is fully experienced in that moment so that:
‘If Our Lord should say to the soul “Be good,” it would immediately be substantially good.’