Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Love of God

1. God's law is founded on love. We read in the Gospel how the Pharisees asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment of the Law. Jesus replied: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as theyself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets. (Mt. 22:37-40)

If a man wants to know if he is living a good Christian life, therefore, all he has to do is ask himself if he loves God above everything and his neighbour as himself. If he lacks this love, he is not a true Christian; everything else is insignificant, if not uselss. "Love God," says St. Augustine "and do what you will." Why so? Because if anyone loves God sincerely, he does not offend Him. Moreover, he serves Him diligently and promotes His honour and glory by every means in his power. Nor does he find it very difficult to do this. Love gives wings to his feet and pours enthusiasm and fervour into his heart. "He who loves does not feel tired," says St. Augustine. "Where there is love" adds St. Bernard. "there is no weariness, but a gentle pleasure instead."

2. If we really know God, we should love Him above all created things. I have loved You too little, My God, said St. Augustine in his Confessions, because I have not know You well enough. If we knew God, we should recognise that He is infinite beauty, goodness and wisdom. We should realise that the beauty of creatures is like a passing cloud, for it is a vague and distant reflection of the eternal beauty of God. We should realise that the wisdom of men is only a ray of God's light which comes from Him and must return to Him. Finally we should perceive that men are good only in so far as they do their best to respond to the inspirations of grace which God has placed in their hearts. God alone is in Himself and of Himself supremely true, beautiful, good, wise and holy. Created things are only an invitation to love God, their Creator. God alone, therefore, is supremely lovable in Himself. In the apt words of St. Bernard, "God Himself is the reason why we should love God; and the measure of our love should be measureless." Let us not allow ourselves to become entangled in the empty passing things of this world, but let us raise our minds and hearts to God.

3. We must love God not only as our Creator and Lord, but also as our Redeemer and Saviour. God's goodness in having created us is immense. Being infinite, He had no need of us. He created us in order to give us a participation in His infinite power, wisdom and beauty. The goodness of God in heaving become man and shed His blood for our salvation, however, is such a tremendous mystery that only the infinite love of God for us could provide any kind of an explanation. But this infinite love demands equal love on our part. Obviously it, cannot be equal, since we are poor, limited creatures. So we should love God, as the Gospel says, above all things and with the whole strength of ours souls. "We have come to know, and have believed, the love that God has in our behalf," (I John 4:16) says St. John. We must believe firmly and effectually to the point of charity. Charity works miracles. It has worked miracles in the Saints. It will do the same for us in the spiritual life and in our external apostolic work. There is only one thing necessary, and that is for us to have this ardent charity, which is the bond of perfection. (Col. 3:14)