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How to increase or diminish our Love for God

3 min • Digitized on December 14, 2021

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 69
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley

Upon Desires.

To desire to love God is to love to desire God, and consequently to love Him: for love is the root of all desires.

St. Paul says: The charity of God presses us. [2 Cor. v. 14.] And how does it press us if not by urging us to desire God. This longing for God is as a spur to the heart, causing it to leap forward on its way to God. The desire of glory incites the soldier to run all risks, and he desires glory because he loves it for its own sake, and deems it a blessing more precious than life itself.

A sick man has not always an appetite for food, however much he may wish for it as a sign of returning health. Nor can he by wishing for it obtain it, because the animal powers of our nature do not always obey the rational faculties.

Love and desire, however, being the offspring of one and the same faculty, whoever desires, loves, and whoever desires from the motive of charity is able to love from the same motive. But how, you ask, shall we know whether or not we have this true desire for the love of God, and having it, whether it proceeds from the motions of grace or from nature?

It is rather difficult, my dear sisters, to give reasons for principles which are themselves their own reason. If you ask me why the fire is hot you must not take it amiss if I simply answer because it is not cold.

But you wish to know what we have to do in order to obtain this most desirable desire to love God. Our Blessed Father tells us that we must renounce all useless, or less necessary desires, because the soul wastes her power when she spreads herself out in over many desires, like the river which when divided by the army of a Persian King into many channels lost itself altogether. He said:

This is why the Saints used to retire into solitary places, so that being freed from earthly cares they might with more fervour give themselves up wholly and entirely to divine love.

This is why the spouse in the Canticles is represented with one eye closed, and all the power of vision concentrated in the other, thus enabling her to gaze more intently into the very depths of the heart of her Beloved, piercing it with love.

This is why she even winds all her tresses into one single braid, using it as a chain to bind and hold captive the heart of her Bridegroom, making Him her slave by love!

Souls which sincerely desire to love God, close their understanding to all worldly things, so as to employ it the more fully in meditating upon things Divine.

All the aspirations of our nature have to be summed up in the one single intention of loving God, and Him alone: for to desire anything otherwise than for God is to desire God the less.

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