In Praise of those who have Love in their Hearts – Part II7 October 2016
Holy Love may we then be pardoned through you and may we enter into the enjoyment of the good things of our Master, since no-one will taste their sweetness except through you. Those who don’t love you as they ought and are not, as they should be, the object of your love, may well run, but haven’t yet reached the goal. It’s far from certain that somebody who is running will actually complete the race. But for those who have laid hold on you, or on whom you have laid hold, [victory] is certain, since you are the end of the Law. It is you who surround me and inflame me, you who, by the pangs of my heart, kindle me with boundless desire for God and for others. You’re the teacher of the prophets, the companion of the apostles, the power of the martyrs, the inspiration of the fathers and teachers, the perfection of all the saints, and the commission for my own, present task of obedience.
Forgive me, brethren, for digressing somewhat from the subject of my discourse, but my longing for love moved me to do so. When I recalled it, my heart rejoiced, as holy David says, and I hastened to sing the praise of its marvels. I therefore entreat you, of your goodness, to pursue it with all your strength and to run after it with faith so that you may lay hold on it. You will not be disappointed in your hopes. Because any zeal and any ascetic effort is in vain and with no useful outcome, unless they end in love, with a contrite spirit. By no other virtue, by no other observance of the Lord’s commandment, can anyone be known as a disciple of Christ, for He says, “If you have love for one another, by this will everyone know that you are my disciples,”.
It’s for this reason that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. It was for love that He became flesh and dwelt among us; for love, He willingly endured His life-giving passion, in order that He might deliver us from the bonds of hell and lead us up to heaven; for love, the apostles ran that unceasing race and used the fish-hook and net of the word to drag the world out of the depths of idolatry and bring it into the haven of the kingdom of heaven; for love, the martyrs shed their blood, so that they might not lose Christ; for love, our God-bearing Fathers and teachers of the world eagerly laid down their lives for the Catholic and Apostolic Church; for love, I, who am of no account at all, have embarked on your protection and am struggling to teach you about the divine words, so that I can imitate those teachers of the Church, insofar as I am able, and suffer and endure for your sake and do everything I can for your edification and profit, so that I may present you as perfect sacrifices, burnt-offerings endowed with intellect, on the altar of Christ. For you are God’s children, whom He has given to me; you are my very heart, my eyes, my pride and the seal of my teaching, as Saint Paul says.
My dear brethren in Christ, let us then strive, as we serve Christ with the other virtues, to serve Him also with love, which should dwell among us, so that God may rejoice at your harmony and perfection. Then, in my lowliness, I will also rejoice as I see your progress in the life that is in accordance with God, as you increase in faith, purity, in the fear of God, reverence, in compunction and tears. By these the soul is purified and is filled with divine light, and the Holy Spirit. My joy will be a blessing for you and an increase of the eternal and blessed life in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be glory forever. Amen