DIVINE LOVE IS A FIRE THAT INFLAMES THE HEART
“Tui amoris in eis ignem accende.”
We know from our Faith that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son through their mutual love for each other, and therefore that the gift of love which the Lord infuses into our souls, and which is the greatest of all gifts, is particularly attributed to the Holy Ghost. The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us-(Rom. v. 5). Hence in this Novena we should especially consider the great excellence and value of Divine love that we may desire it, and labour to obtain it by devout exercises, but particularly by fervent prayer, for Jesus has said: Your Father from heaven will give the good Spirit to them that ask him-(Luke xi. 13).
God ordained in the Old Law that fire should be kept continually burning upon His altar: The fire on the altar shall always burn-(Lev. vi. 12). St. Gregory says that our hearts are the altars of God on which He desires that the fire of His love should always be burning. And hence the Eternal Father, not satisfied with having given us His Son Jesus Christ, to save us by His death, would also give us the Holy Ghost, to dwell in our hearts, and keep them continually inflamed with His love. And Jesus Himself declared that it was in order to influence our hearts with this holy love that He came into the world, and that He desired nothing more than to see it kindled: I am Come to send fire upon the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled?-(Luke xii. 49), Hence, forgetting the injuries and ingratitude He received from men in this world, when He had ascended into Heaven, He sent down upon us the Holy Ghost. 0 most loving Redeemer, dost Thou, then, love us not only in Thy sufferings and ignominies, but also in Thy Heavenly glory?
Hitherto, O my God, I have done nothing for Thee Who hast done such great things for me! Alas, my luke-warmness may deserve that Thou shouldst vomit me out of Thy mouth! O Holy Spirit, warm what is cold, deliver me from my tepidity, and enkindle within me a great desire of pleasing Thee.
Hence it was that the Holy Ghost chose to appear in the form of fiery tongues. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire-(Acts ii. 3). Wherefore the Church instructs us to pray: “May the Holy Ghost, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, inflame us with that fire which our Lord Jesus came to cast upon the earth, and which He ardently desired to be enkindled.” This was the holy Fire which has inspired the Saints to do such great things for God, to love their enemies, to desire contempt, to renounce all worldly goods, and to embrace with cheerfulness, even torments and death. Love cannot remain idle, and never says: It is enough. The soul that loves God, the more she does for her Beloved, the more she desires to do for Him, in order to please Him, and to draw down His love the more. This holy love is enkindled in mental prayer: In my meditation a fire shall flame out-(Ps. xxxviii. 4). If, therefore, we desire to be on fire with the love of God, we must delight in prayer; this is the blessed furnace in which this Divine ardour is enkindled.
O Lord, I now renounce all self-gratification, and would rather die than displease Thee. Thou didst appear in the shape of fiery tongues: I consecrate my tongue to Thee, that I may never use It to offend Thee. Thou gave me my tongue, O God, to praise Thee, and I have made use of it to offend Thee, and to draw others into offences against Thee! I am sorry for these things with my whole soul. Oh, for the love of Jesus Christ, Who in His mortal life honoured Thee so much with His tongue, grant that I also from this day forward may honour Thee, by always proclaiming Thy praises, by frequently invoking Thy assistance, and by speaking of Thy goodness and of the infinite love which Thou deservest! I love Thee, my sovereign Good; I love Thee, O God of love! O Mary, most dear spouse of the Holy Ghost, obtain for me this holy fire.