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Reflections: Our Father's Love Section (Our Love)

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Return to Our Father's Love Reflctns. | Our Father's Love

Reflections: 

Our Father's Love:

Our Love of God

Wisdom of the Popes, Saints, Theologians, Other...

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God Seeks Our Love

God Wants to Be Loved Wisely

How to Love God

Love of God / Love of Neighbor

Our Love For God

Proving One's Love for God

Treatise on the Love of God

We Need to Love God

Category
Quotation

God Seeks Our Love

Also See: God (Topic Page)

"He belongs to you, but more than that, He longs to be in you, living and ruling in you, as the head lives and rules in the body. He wants His breath to be in your breath, His heart in your heart, and His soul in your soul." (St. John Eudes)

"After pointing out that God wants to be loved by men rather than feared and honored, [St. Bernard of Clairvaux] adds this wise and penetrating observation: 'Love is sufficient of itself; it pleases of itself, and for the sake of loving. A great thing is love, if yet it returns to its Principle, if it is restored to its Origin, if it finds its way back again to its fountain-head, so that it may thus be enabled to flow on unfailingly. Amidst all the emotions, sentiments, and feelings of the soul, love is outstanding in this respect, namely, that it alone among created things, has the power to correspond with, and to make return to the Creator in kind, though not in equality.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Doctor Mellifluus", 1953)

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God Wants to Be Loved Wisely

Also See: God (Topic Page)

"God is Wisdom, and wants to be loved not only affectionately, but also wisely...Otherwise, if you neglect knowledge, the spirit of error will most easily lay snares for your zeal; nor has the wily enemy a more efficacious means of driving love from the heart, than if he can make a man walk carelessly and imprudently in the path of love." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

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How to Love God

Also See: God (Topic Page)

"To love God as He ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love. We must love nothing but Him, or if we love anything else, we must love it only for His sake." (St. Peter Claver)

"While at prayer, I begged our Lord to make known to me by what means I could satisfy the desire that I had to love him. He gave me to understand, that one cannot better show one's love for him than by loving one's neighbor for love of him; and that I must work for the salvation of others, forgetting my own interest in order to espouse those of my neighbor, both in my prayers and in all the good I might be able to do by the mercy of God." (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)

"To love God with our whole mind is to think of him often, and to make it our principal study to know him well." (St. John Vianney)

"The love of God is fostered by good works." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"We must be like the shepherds in the fields during the winter. They have a fire, but from time to time they search about for sticks to keep it alive. If we knew how to keep up the fire of the love of God in our heart by prayers and good works, it would not go out." (St. John Vianney)

"If you really love God, you will not be content with avoiding big sins. You will regard as hateful anything which could be even a little displeasing to him." (St. John Vianney)

"To love God with our whole strength is to employ our possessions, our health, and our talents in serving him and glorifying him. It is to refer all our actions to him as our last end." (St. John Vianney)

"We do not hesitate to declare that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the most effective school of the love of God; the love of God, We say, which must be the foundation on which to build up the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations" (Pope Pius XII, "Haurietis Aquas", 1956 A.D.)

"That God is to be loved above all things, so that we should be prepared to sacrifice our lives rather than offend Him, these words of the Lord clearly declare: He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; He that will save his life shall lose it." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Too little doth he love Thee, who loves anything with Thee, which he loveth not for Thee." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[I]n the state of perfect nature man did not need the gift of grace added to his natural endowments, in order to love God above all things naturally, although he needed God's help to move him to it; but in the state of corrupt nature man needs, even for this, the help of grace to heal his nature." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he mode in the love of God, must not be taken as in a thing measured where we find too much or too little, but as in the measure itself, where there cannot be excess, and where the more the rule is attained the better it is, so that the more we love God the better our love is." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"['You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' (Lk. 10:27)] We must hereby understand that it becomes us to submit every power of the soul to the divine love, and that resolutely, not slackly. Hence it is added, 'And with all your strength'." (St. Theophylact)

"You are commanded to love God with all your heart, that your whole thoughts - with all your soul, that your whole life - with all your mind, that your whole understanding - may be given to Him from whom you have that you give. Thus He has left no part of our life which may justly be unfilled of Him, or give place to the desire after any other final good; but if aught else present itself for the soul's love, it should be absorbed into that channel in which the whole current of love runs. For man is then the most perfect when his whole life tends towards the life unchangeable, and clings to it with the whole purpose of his soul." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"By saying, with all your mind ['You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.' (Lk. 10:27)], he does not admit of any division of love to other things, for whatever love you cast on lower things necessarily takes away from the whole. For as a vessel full of liquid, whatever flows therefrom must so much diminish its fullness; so also the soul, whatever love it has wasted upon things unlawful, has so much lessened its love to God." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"If then, we wish for the gift of divine love, we must constantly beseech the Holy Ghost to make us know and do the will of God. Let us continually implore his light to know, and his strength to fulfill the divine will. Many wish to love God, but they, at the same time, wish to follow their own, and not his will." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]here is no doubt that Christians in paying homage to the Sacred Heart of the Redeemer are fulfilling a serious part of their obligations in their service of God and, at the same time, they are surrendering themselves to their Creator and Redeemer with regard to both the affections of the heart and the external activities of their life; in this way, they are obeying that divine commandment: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole Strength.' Besides, they have the firm conviction that they are moved to honor God not primarily for their own advantage in what concerns soul and body in this life and in the next, but for the sake of God's goodness they strive to render Him their homage, to give Him back love for love, to adore Him and offer Him due thanks." (Pope Pius XII, "Haurietis Aquas", 1956)

"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' (Mt. 22:37) You shall love, not 'fear,' for to love is more than to fear; to fear belongs to slaves, to love to sons; fear is in compulsion, love in freedom. Whoever serves God in fear escapes punishment, but has not the reward of righteousness because he did well unwillingly through fear. God does not desire to be served servilely by men as a master, but to be loved as a father, for that He has given the spirit of adoption to men. But to love God with the whole heart, is to have the heart inclined to the love of no one thing more than of God. To love God again with the whole soul is to have the mind stayed upon the truth, and to be firm in the faith. For the love of the heart and the love of the soul are different. The first is in a sort carnal, that we should love God even with our flesh, which we cannot do unless we first depart from the love of the things of this world. The love of the heart is felt in the heart, but the love of the soul is not felt, but is perceived because it consists in a judgment of the soul. For he who believes that all good is in God, and that without Him is no good, he loves God with his whole soul. But to love God with the whole mind, is to have all the faculties open and unoccupied for Him. He only loves God with his whole mind, whose intellect ministers to God, whose wisdom is employed about God, whose thoughts travail in the things of God, and whose memory holds the things which are good." (Psuedo-Chrys, as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

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Love of God / Love of Neighbor

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"But if even yourself you ought not to love for your own sake, but because of Him in whom is the rightful end of your love, let not another man be displeased that you love even him for God's sake. Whoever then rightly loves his neighbor, ought to endeavor with him that he also with his whole heart love God." (St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church)

"But since the Divine substance is more excellent and higher than our nature, the command to love God is distinct from that to love our neighbor. But if by yourself, you understand your whole self, that is both your soul and your body, and in like manner of your neighbor, there is no sort of things to be loved omitted in these commands. The love of God goes first, and the rule thereof is so set out to us as to make all other loves center in that, so that nothing seems said of loving yourself. But then follows, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, so that love of yourself is not omitted." (St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church)

"Since there are two commandments, the love of God and the love of our neighbor, on which hang the Law and the Prophets, not without reason does Scripture put one for both; sometimes the love of God; as in that, We know that all things work together for good to them that love God; and sometimes the love of our neighbor; as in that, All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. And that because if a man love his neighbor, it follows therefrom that he loves God also; for it is the selfsame affection by which we love God, and by which we love our neighbor, save that we love God for Himself, but ourselves and our neighbor for God's sake." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"We cannot be sure whether we are loving God, although we may have good reason for believing that we are. But we can know quite well whether we are loving our neighbor." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"[H]e does not love God who does not love his neighbor" (Liturgical Year)

"[W]hen the Lord adds, 'This is the first and greatest commandment [You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Mt. 22:37)]', we learn how we ought to think of the commandments, that there is a great one, and that there are less down to the least. And the Lord says not only that it is a great, but that it is the first commandment, not in order of Scripture, but in supremacy of value. They only take upon them the greatness and supremacy of this precept, who not only love the Lord their God, but add these three conditions. Nor did He only teach the first and great commandment, but added that there was a second like to the first, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. But if whoever loves iniquity has hated his own soul, it is manifest that he does not love his neighbor as himself, when he does not love himself." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

"Perfect love is that by which we are ordered to love the Lord with our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. Neither of these [kinds of] love is capable of being perfect without the other, because God cannot be loved apart from our neighbor, nor our neighbor apart from God." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"He that loves men ought to love them either because they are righteous, or that they may be righteous; and so also ought he to love himself either for that he is, or that he may be righteous. And thus without peril he may love his neighbor as himself." (St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Catholic Basics Section

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Our Love For God

Also See: God (Topic Page)

"Love God, serve God: everything is in that." (St. Clare of Assisi)

"Happy is he that lives to love, receive and serve God!" (St. John Vianney)

"It is always springtime in the heart that loves God." (St. John Vianney)

"The reason for loving God is God Himself; the measure of loving God is to love Him beyond measure." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"It is a wonderful thing to have a heart and, little as it is, to be able to make use of it in loving God." (St. John Vianney)

"When the heart is pure, it cannot help loving, because it has found the source of love, which is God himself." (St. John Vianney)

"A soul that does not love God, is not living, but dead." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he end of all human actions and affections is the love of God" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"If God were to bestow on anyone no other talents besides the grace of loving him, this alone suffices and is every spiritual treasure." (St. Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church)

"The soul who is in love with God is a gentle, humble and patient soul." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Moderation is always good in all exercises, except in that of loving God." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he measure of our love for God is to love Him with our whole heart" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"God is the cause of our loving God; the measure is to love Him without measure." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"If we have been slow to love, at least let us hasten to love in return." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"If I love Jesus, I ought to resemble Him. If I love Jesus, I ought to love what he loves, what he prefers to all else: humility." (St. Peter Julian Eymard)

"The love of God is never idle: where it exists it does great things: if it refuses to act, it is not love." (St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he highest degree of love is that whereby charity loves God as the giver of beatitude" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[C]harity, by loving God, unites the soul immediately to Him with a chain of spiritual union." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"To love God you need three hearts in one: a heart of fire for Him, a heart of flesh for your neighbor, and a heart of bronze for yourself." (St. Benedict Joseph Labre)

"[O]ur love of God is false if our hearts are not disposed to show mercy to our neighbor, and help him in his necessities and troubles." (Gueranger)

"The more we know of men, the less we love them. It is the contrary with God; the more we know of him, the more we love him." (St. John Vianney)

"If you really love God, you will greatly desire to see him loved by all the world." (St. John Vianney)

"For where there is true love of God, love of self and of one's own things finds no entry." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"You gave me a clearer knowledge of yourself. This knowledge awakened such a love in me that now I wished to correct all my faults not for fear of your just anger but because of your love alone." (St. Gertrude the Great)

"Love is the distinctive mark of those who belong to God, as the mark of those who reject him is hatred." (St. John Vianney)

"The sign that you love God is this: that you love your fellow. And if you hate your fellow, your hatred is towards God." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"It is a strange thing: I have met plenty of people who repented at not having loved God. Never have I met one who repented of having loved him." (St. John Vianney)

"(In our struggle against temptations) our Lord is there quite close to us, looking on us with kindness, smiling at us and saying: 'So you do love Me!'" (St. John Vianney)

"What a weakness it is to love Jesus Christ only when He caresses us, and to be cold immediately (when) He afflicts us. This is not true love. Those who love thus, love themselves too much to love God with all their heart." (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)

"God cannot be loved from the heart and above all things else, unless we prefer His honor and glory to all things created." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"For as long as any carnal concupiscence remains, that can be restrained by continence, man cannot love God with all his heart." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[N]ature cannot rise to an act exceeding the proportion of its strength. Now to love God above all things is not such an act; for it is natural to every creature" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[N]ever can we love God as much as He ought to be loved, nor believe and hope in Him as much as we should. Much less therefore can there be excess in such things." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Love Him totally who gave Himself totally for your love." (St. Clare of Assisi)

"He died of love for us, we should also die of love for him; or if we cannot die of love, at least we should live for him alone." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"Whosoever loves God aright loves all God's creatures." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"In the long run there will be but two kinds of men: those who love God and those who love something else." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"...who can behold the riches of His goodness and love, which He lavishes on us, and not love Him?" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Let all our hopes, therefore, be based on the love of God, who promises to reward our love with eternal happiness." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The love of Him who has loved us so much merits the highest degree of our love." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"If I make God to reign in my heart, he will make me to reign with him in his glory." (St. John Vianney)

"Have you not for some time loved the Lord? Do you not love him now? Do you not long to love him forever? Therefore, do not fear! Even conceded that you had committed all the sins of this world, Jesus repeats to you, 'Many sins are forgiven thee because thou hast loved much!'" [St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)]

"For so our human heart naturally produces certain beginnings of God's love, but to proceed so far as to love him above all things, which is the true ripeness of the love due unto this supreme goodness, - this belongs only to hearts animated and assisted with heavenly grace, and which are in the state of holy charity. This little imperfect love of which nature by itself feels the stirrings, is but a will without will, a will that would but wills not, a sterile will, which does not produce true effects, a will sick of the palsy, which sees the healthful pond of holy love, but has not the strength to throw itself into it." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"After this it should be added that this is the first and principal Commandment, not only in order, but also in its nature, dignity and excellence. God is entitled to infinitely greater love and obedience from us than any lord or king. He created us, He nurtured us even in the womb, brought us into the world, and still supplies us with all the necessaries of life and maintenance." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"To this end then the law commanded a threefold love to God ['You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' (Lk. 10:27)], that it might pluck us away from the threefold fashion of the world, as touching possessions, glory, and pleasure, wherein also Christ was tempted." (St. Maximus)

"To love God with one's whole heart has a twofold signification. First, actually, so that a man's whole heart be always actually directed to God: this is the perfection of heaven. Secondly, in the sense that a man's whole heart be habitually directed to God, so that it consent to nothing contrary to the love of God, and this is the perfection of the way. Venial sin is not contrary to this latter perfection, because it does not destroy the habit of charity, since it does not tend to a contrary object, but merely hinders the use of charity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Who doubts that love precedes the observance of the commandments? For who loves not, has not that whereby to keep the commandments. These words then do not declare whence love arises, but how it is shown, that no one might deceive himself into thinking that he loved our Lord, when he did not keep His commandments. Though the words, Continue you in My love (Jn. 15:9), do not of themselves make it evident which love He means, ours to Him, or His to us, yet the preceding words do: I love you, He says: and then immediately after, Continue you in My love. Continue you in My love, then, is, continue in My grace; and, If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, is, Your keeping of My commandments will be evidence to you that you abide in My love. It is not that we keep His commandments first, and that then He loves; but that He loves us, and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace, which is revealed to the humble, but hidden from the proud." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Since love may be considered as something between lover and beloved, when we ask whether God can be wholly loved, the question may be understood in three ways, first so that the qualification wholly be referred to the thing loved, and thus God is to be loved wholly, since man should love all that pertains to God. Secondly, it may be understood as though wholly qualified the lover: and thus again God ought to be loved wholly, since man ought to love God with all his might, and to refer all he has to the love of God, according to Deuteronomy 6:5: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart.' Thirdly, it may be understood by way of comparison of the lover to the thing loved, so that the mode of the lover equal the mode of the thing loved. This is impossible: for, since a thing is lovable in proportion to its goodness, God is infinitely lovable, since His goodness is infinite. Now no creature can love God infinitely, because all power of creatures, whether it be natural or infused, is finite." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"A precept can be fulfilled in two ways; perfectly, and imperfectly. A precept is fulfilled perfectly, when the end intended by the author of the precept is reached; yet it is fulfilled, imperfectly however, when although the end intended by its author is not reached, nevertheless the order to that end is not departed from. Thus if the commander of an army order his soldiers to fight, his command will be perfectly obeyed by those who fight and conquer the foe, which is the commander's intention; yet it is fulfilled, albeit imperfectly, by those who fight without gaining the victory, provided they do nothing contrary to military discipline. Now God intends by this precept [of love of God] that man should be entirely united to Him, and this will be realized in heaven, when God will be 'all in all,' according to 1 Corinthians 15:28. Hence this precept will be observed fully and perfectly in heaven; yet it is fulfilled, though imperfectly, on the way. Nevertheless on the way one man will fulfill it more perfectly than another, and so much the more, as he approaches by some kind of likeness to the perfection of heaven...Even as the soldier who fights legitimately without conquering is not blamed nor deserves to be punished for this, so too he that does not fulfill this precept on the way, but does nothing against the love of God, does not sin mortally." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"This natural inclination then which we have to love God above all things is not left for nothing in our hearts: for on God's part it is a handle by which he can hold us and draw us to himself... And on our part it is a mark and memorial of our first principle and Creator, to whose love it moves us, giving us a secret imitation that we belong to his divine goodness; even as harts upon whom princes have had collars put with their arms, though afterwards they cause them to be let loose and run at liberty in the forest, do not fail to be recognized by any one who meets them not only has having been once taken by the prince whose arms they bear, but also as being still reserved for him... In truth the honorable inclination which God has left in our hearts testifies as well to our friends as to our enemies that we did not only sometime belong to our Creator, but furthermore, though he has left us and let us go at the mercy of our free will, that we still appertain to him, and that he has reserved the right of taking us again to himself, to save us, according as his holy and sweet providence shall require. Hence the royal prophet terms this inclination not only a light, in that it makes us see whither we are to tend, but also a joy and gladness, for it comforts us when we stray, giving us a hope that he who engraved and left in us this clear mark of our origin intends also and desires to reduce and bring us back thither, if we be so happy as to let ourselves be retaken by his divine goodness." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: God's Love

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Proving One's Love for God

Also See: God (Topic Page)

"If I were to ask you if you loved God, you would tell me that you did; but that is not enough. You must prove it." (St. John Vianney)

"It is by battles against hell and by resistance to temptations that we give God proofs of our love." (St. John Vianney)

"There is hardly a day when we shall not be obliged to make some sacrifice for God, if we do not want to displease him and if we want to love him." (St. John Vianney)

"To love God in sugar - little children would do as much; but to love Him in wormwood, that is the test of our fidelity." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"But see, if any of you is asked whether he loves God, he replies in total confidence and certainty of mind: 'I do love Him.' But at the very beginning of the reading you heard what Truth says: 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word.' The proof of love, therefore, is the demonstrability of works. Hence the same John can say in his Epistle: 'Anyone who says, I love God, and does not keep His commands is a liar.' We truly love God if we subordinate our desires to His commands. For anyone who has been abandoning himself to his own illicit desires certainly does not love God, because he gainsays God in his own will." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Increase Holiness Section

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Treatise on the Love of God

Also See: God (Topic Page)

"'The Treatise on the Love of God,' however, is a much more important and significant book than any of the others [St. Francis de Sales] published. In this work the saintly Doctor gives a veritable history of the love of God, explaining its origin and development among men, at the same time showing how divine love begins to cool and then to languish. He also outlines the methods of developing and of growing in the love of God. When necessary he even goes deeply into explanations of the most difficult problems as, for example, that of efficacious grace, predestination, and the gift of faith. This he does not do dryly but, by reason of the agile and well-stored mind which he possessed, in such a way that his discussions abound in most beautiful language and are filled with an equally desirable function. He was also accustomed to illustrate his thoughts by an almost infinite variety of metaphors, examples, and quotations taken from the most part from the Holy Scriptures, all of which gave the impression that what he wrote flowed no less from this heart and the depths of his being than from his intellect." (Pope Pius XI, " Rerum Omnium Perturbationem", 1923)

Also See: Catholic Book Review & Exchange (Reflections)

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We Need to Love God

Also See: God (Topic Page)

"God has created my heart only for himself. He asks me to give it to him that he may make it happy." (St. John Vianney)

"Since we are only in the world for God himself, we shall never be happy if we do not serve him with zeal and love." (St. John Vianney)

"Thou didst create us, O Lord, for Thyself, and our heart is restless till it rest in Thee." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"It is not necessary to acquire riches, nor to obtain dignities, nor to gain a great name. The only thing necessary is to love God." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our help, but because He knew that loving Him would make us whole." (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)

"For, when men do not have the proper love for their Creator, from Whom comes everything they have when they do not love one another, then, as often happens, they are separated from one another by hatred and deceit, and so quarrel bitterly among themselves. Now God is the most loving Father of us all, and we are all brethren in Christ, we whom he redeemed by shedding His precious Blood. Hence, as often as we fail to return God's love or to recognize His divine fatherhood with all due reverence, the bonds of brotherly love are unfortunately shattered and - as, alas, is so often evident, - discord, strife and enmity unhappily are the result, so much so as to undermine and destroy the very foundations of human society." (Pope Pius XII, "Doctor Mellifluus", 1953)

"Now to love God above all things is natural to man and to every nature, not only rational but irrational, and even to inanimate nature according to the manner of love which can belong to each creature. And the reason of this is that it is natural to all to seek and love things according as they are naturally fit (to be sought and loved) since 'all things act according as they are naturally fit' as stated in De Physica ii,8. Now it is manifest that the good of the part is for the good of the whole; hence everything, by its natural appetite and love, loves its own proper good on account of the common good of the whole universe, which is God. Hence Dionysius says (De Divinis Nominibus iv) that 'God leads everything to love of Himself.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But if any one ask how the love of God is to be obtained, we are sure that the love of God cannot be taught. For neither did we learn to rejoice in the presence of light, or to embrace life, or to love our parents and children; much less were we taught the love of God, but a certain seminal principle was implanted in us, which has within itself the cause, that man clings to God; which principle the teaching of the divine commands is wont to cultivate diligently, to foster watchfully, and to carry on to the perfection of divine grace. For naturally we love good; we love also what is our own, and akin to us; we likewise of our own accord pour forth all our affections on our benefactors. If then God is good, but all things desire that good, which is wrought voluntarily, He is by nature inherent in us, and although from His goodness we are far from knowing Him, yet from the very fact that we proceeded forth from Him, we are bound to love Him with exceeding, love, as in truth akin to us; He is likewise also a greater benefactor than all whom by nature we love here. And again, the love of God then is the first and chief command, but the second, as filling up the first and filled up by it, bids us to love our neighbor. Hence it follows, 'And [love] your neighbor as yourself'. But we have an instinct given us by God to perform this command, as who does not know that man is a kind and social animal? For nothing belongs so much to our nature as to communicate with one another, and mutually to need and love our relations. Of those things then of which in the first place He gave us the seed, He afterwards requires the fruits." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

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