Presence of God – O my God, my only love, kindle in me the fire of Your charity.
Sacred Scripture tells us: “God is charity” (1 Jn 4:16). God is love, eternal, infinite, substantial love. Just as everything in God is beautiful, good, perfect, and holy, so also everything in God is love–His beauty, wisdom, power, providence; even His justice is love. Love is perfect and holy when it turns with all its strength toward the sovereign good, and prefers it to every other good. This is the love with which God loves Himself, precisely because He is the one supreme and eternal Good, to which no other good can be preferred. The infinite love which God has for Himself is therefore, by its very nature, completely holy and has nothing in common with what we call self-love or egoism, that disordered love by which we prefer ourselves–more or less, and sometimes wholly–to God the supreme good. We are egoists because we have a tendency to love ourselves to the exclusion of every other affection, but God is so free from every shadow of egoism that, even though He loves Himself infinitely and is wholly satisfied with His infinite good, He tends by nature to diffuse His love outside Himself. It is thus that God loves creatures; He does not love them because there is some good in them which attracts Him, but it is He Himself who, loving them, creates good in them. “The love of God,” says St. Thomas, “is the cause which infuses and creates good in creatures” (Summa Ia, q. 20, a. 2, co.). See, then, how God loves us, with love entirely gratuitous and free, with love supremely pure, with love that is both benevolence and beneficence: benevolence which desires our good, beneficence which does us good. By loving us, God calls us to life, He infuses His grace in us, invites us to do good, urges us to be saints, draws us to Himself and gives us a share in His eternal happiness. Everything we are and have is the gift of His infinite love.
“Teach me, O Lord, how to love You; wretched as I am, I will love You with my whole heart and soul, because You loved me first. I exist because You created me; You willed from all eternity to number me among Your creatures. Whence does this blessing come to me, O most benign Lord, Most High God, most merciful Father; for what merits of mine, what grace of mine, did it please Your Majesty to create me? I did not exist and You created me; I was nothing and from nothing You drew me and gave me being. Not the existence of a drop of water, of fire, a bird, a fish or any other irrational animal … but You created me a little lower than the angels, since, like them, I have been given reason by which I may know You, and knowing You, can love You. And I, O Lord, by Your grace, can become Your son, which is impossible to other creatures. Only Your grace, only Your goodness has done this, so that I may share in Your sweetness. Give me then, the grace to be grateful, O You who have created me out of nothing!” (St. Augustine).
“O my God and my infinite Wisdom, without measure and without bounds, high above all the understanding both of angels and of men! O Love, You who love me more than I can love myself or conceive of love! What amazes and bewilders me, considering what we are, is the love You had for us and still have. I am so astounded that I am beside myself.
“How could my will not incline to love You? O Lord, I have received from You so many signs of love and I want to repay You, at least in some small way. I am especially moved by the thought that You, because You truly love me, never leave me but go with me everywhere and give me being and life. I know that I can never have a better friend” (Teresa of Jesus: Exclamations of the Soul to God 17; Conceptions of the Love of God 2; Interior Castle II, 1).
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Art: Jesus Reveals His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, File copy. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.