The Law of Love is the Source of Spiritual Life

“…God’s love has been poured into our hearts through
the Holy Spirit who has been given to us
(Rom. 5:5)
.”

St. Thomas Aquinas, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Thomas AquinasSt. Thomas Aquinas: “The principle of every good is in this: the law of love is the source of spiritual life. It is a natural and manifest fact that the loving heart is inhabited by what it loves. Whoever loves God possesses Him within. ‘He who dwells in charity* dwells in God and God in him (1 John 4:16).’ The nature of love transforms whoever loves into the beloved being. If we love God we will be completely divine. ‘Whoever is united with the Lord becomes one spirit with Him(1 Cor. 6:17).

“Without charity, the soul no longer acts: ‘Whoever does not love abides in death(1 John 3:14). If a person possesses all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but lacks charity, that person has no life. For it matters not whether one has the grace of tongues, or the gift of faith, or any other gift such as prophecy; these do not bring life without charity. Even if a dead body should be adorned with gold and precious jewels, it nevertheless remains dead. Charity leads to the observance of the divine commandments. …We see a lover do great and difficult things because of the One loved, and that is why the Lord says, ‘If anyone loves Me he will keep My word(John 14:23). Whoever keeps this command and the law of divine love fulfills the whole law. Charity provides protection against adversity. Misfortune cannot harm one who has charity; rather it becomes useful to that person. Misfortune and difficulties seem pleasant to the lover. Charity truly leads to happiness, since eternal blessedness is promised only to those who have charity. For all other things are insufficient without charity. You must note that it is only the different degrees of charity, and not those of any other virtues, which constitute the different degrees of blessedness. Many of the saints were more austere than the apostles, but the apostles excel all the other saints in blessedness because of their higher degree of charity.”  (Text reposted from Secret Harbour, by Jeffrey Allen)

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*CHARITY:
  The word “charity” is from the latin root ‘caritas’. It embraces the fullness of love; from the, “supreme love to God,” that bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the beloved personal qualities of 1 Cor 13.”

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The Love of God Contrasted with the Love of the World

Leo the GreatSt. Leo the Great: “There are two loves from which all wishes proceed, and they are as different in quality as they are different in their sources. For the reasonable soul, which cannot exist without love, is the lover either of God or the world. In the love of God there is no excess, but in the love of the world all is hurtful. Therefore we must cling inseparably to eternal treasures, but things temporal we must use like passers-by, so that as sojourners hastening to return to our own land, all the good things of this world which meet us may be as aids on the way, not snares to detain us….

“As the world attracts us with its appearance and abundance and variety, it is not easy to turn away from it unless in the beauty of things visible the Creator rather than the creature is loved; for, when He says, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt. 22:37),’ He wishes us in nothing to loosen ourselves from the bonds of His love. And when He links the love of our neighbor also to this command, He enjoins on us the imitation of His own goodness, that we should love what He loves and do what He does. For although ‘we are God’s fellow workers and God’s building (1 Cor. 3:9),’ and ‘neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth (1 Cor. 3:7),’ yet in all things He requires our ministry and service, and wishes us to be the stewards of His gifts, so that he who bears God’s image may do God’s will.

“For this reason, in the Lord’s prayer we say most devoutly, ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).’ For what else do we ask for in these words but that God may subdue those whom He has not yet subdued, and that as in heaven He makes the angels ministers of His will, so also on earth He may make men. And in seeking this we love God, and we also love our neighbor; and the love within us has but one Object, since we desire the bond-servant to serve and the Lord to have rule.” (Leo the Great, Sermon XC, ch. 3, Scripture: RSVCE)

Keeping the Commandments of God in the Harmony of Love

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15; also 14:21, 15:10)

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Clement I of Rome IconPope St. Clement I:  “Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the blessed bond of the love of God or tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is inexpressible (Eph. 3:16-19). Love unites us to God, “love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8)“. Love bears all things, is long-suffering [patient] in all things. There is nothing vulgar, nothing arrogant in love (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Love knows nothing of schisms, love does not lead rebellions, love does all things in harmony (1 Cor. 14:33, 40). By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well pleasing to God. In love the Lord has taken us to Himself. Because of His love for us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood in accordance with the will of God; His flesh for our flesh and His life for our lives.

“You can see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing love is; its perfection is beyond description. Who is fit to be found in it, except those to whom God has graciously rendered it so? Therefore, let us pray and implore of His mercy, that we may live blameless in love, without human partiality (Eph. 1:4, 5, James 2:1, 9). All the generations from Adam even to this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of God, have been made perfect in love, now possess a place among the godly, and shall be made manifest at the revelation of the kingdom of Christ (Col. 3:4). For it is written, “Enter into thy secret chambers for a little time, until my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a propitious day, and will raise you up out of your graves (Isa. 26:19, 20).”  Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the harmony of love; so that through love our sins may be forgiven us. For it is written, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not impute to him, and in whose mouth there is no guile (Ps. 32:2, Rom. 4:7, 8).” This blessedness comes upon those who have been chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Let us therefore implore forgiveness for all those transgressions we may have committed through any suggestion of the adversary. And those who have been the leaders of sedition and disagreement ought to have respect to the common hope. …For it is better that a man should acknowledge his transgressions than that he should harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened who stirred up sedition against Moses the servant of God, and whose condemnation was made manifest to all. For they went down alive into Hades and death swallowed them up (Num. 16:1-35, Jude 11). Pharaoh with his army and all the princes of Egypt, and the chariots with their riders, were sunk in the depths of the Red Sea and perished (Exod. 14), for no other reason than that their foolish hearts were hardened, even after so many signs and wonders had been wrought in the land of Egypt by Moses the servant of God.” (1 Clement to the Corinthians, excerpts from para. 49-51)

+ St. Clement I of Rome, Pray for us. +

The Soul and Spirit of a Beautiful Woman

Mary Mother of God, MagnificatMary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior because He has regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold, from now on all generations shall call me blessed because He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. His mercy is from generation unto generations, to those who fear Him. He has shown might in His arm; He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever (Luke 1:46-55).”

+ Mary, Mother of God, pray for us +