Thursday, February 8, 2007

Doing Everything for the Love of God

1. The beginning of perfection consists in doing the will of God even in our smallest actions. But to do everything for the love of God is the summit of Christian perfection. If we aimed always at doing God's will and acting from the motive of love for Him, we should be contented and at peace, because we should be holy. The saints are the only people who remain calm and undisturbed in the midst of worldly adversity. They are always content because they live in God. Their lives are in full conformity because they live in God. Their lives are in full conformity with His Will, guided by His love, and dedicated to His service. As a result, they live in a kind of spiritual stratosphere far above the storms of this world. There they are above the clouds of pride, ambition, avarice and all the other major vices. There they see and contemplate everything in the light of God. Let us become saints. Then we shall have solved all the problems of life.

2. As St. John says, God is love; he who dwells in love dwells in God, and God dwells in him (I John 4:16). Since He is love, God longs to be loved by us. Our actions should come from, and be accompanied by, our love for Him. Love therefore is the fulfilment of the Law (Rom. 13:10), writes St. Paul. We must perform all our actions, therefore, for the love of God. The alchemists of old made a great many experiments in the hope of being able to transform base metals into gold. What was possible in the physical order, however, is quite possible in the moral and spiritual order. We can transform all our actions into pure gold by means of the love of God. There is a story told about a sculptor who was chiselling out a small statue which was to be placed on the highest pinnacle of the temple. He was striving after perfection in the tiniest details, as if it would be possible for the statue to be inspected at close quarters. Somebody asked him why he was so particular and careful in his work, and he replied; "I am not working for those who are looking up from below, but for Him Who is looking down from above. I am working for god alone!"

3. In one of his letters Luther wrote that he was so busy that he had no time to read his Breviary nor to offer Holy Mass. There is no doubt that it was this estrangement from prayer and from the love of God which caused him to finish up as he did. Our work must be based on charity and the interior life, so that we may always be united with God. Otherwise, every action of ours, no matter how good it may appear, is sterile and valueless in the sight of God. Today also there are many people busily engaged in apostolic work, but they have no interior life nourished by charity. This is what is known as the heresy of action. Everything we do is useless and even harmful if our external activity is not accompanied by a flourishing interior life enriched by divine grace. St. Gregory the Great paraphrases the words of the Gospel as follows: "Our Lord says: If anyone love Me, let him keep my commandments. Love is proved by action. This is why St. John (I John 2:4) says that the man who claims to love God and does not keep His commandments is a liar. We love God sincerely if we keep His commandments and avoid the immoderate pleasures of our age. Anyone who surrenders without reserve to the unlawful desires of this world certainly does not love God, because he is acting contrary to His will." (Homil. 30 in Ev.)