THURSDAY AFTER THE FOURTH SUNDAY
ON LOVING GOD WITH OUR WHOLE MIND
Consider first, that our whole mind ought also to be consecrated to divine love, according to the import of that greatest and first commandment of our heavenly Lover. Now, the mind is the seat of thought, and consequently of consideration, meditation, and recollection in God. Wherefore, to love God with our whole mind is to have our thoughts ever turned towards him; to consider him; to meditate daily upon him and his truth, and upon all that relates to him, or helps to bring the soul to him; to walk always in his presence; and to keep ourselves recollected in the remembrance of him. This love of the whole mind was required of all the servants of God even in the old law, and much more in the new, which is the law of love. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,’ &c., said he, Deut. vi. ‘and these words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart and thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house and walking on thy journey, sleeping, rising; and thou shalt bind them as a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be and shall move between thy eyes, and thou shalt write them on the doors of thy house.’ See, my soul, how strongly thy God inculcates the perpetual remembrance of him and of his divine law; but more especially of the great commandment of love, which is the fulfilling of the whole law. See how he expects that thy whole mind should be ever full of him.
Consider 2ndly, how reasonable and just it is that we should love our God with our whole mind, by ever remembering and thinking on him. He always remembers us and thinks of us; his eye is always upon us; from all eternity we have ever had a place in his eternal mind, in which he has cherished us with infinite love; and shall we refuse him the place he calls for in our mind, or put him off with any thing less than our whole mind? Alas what worthless things are we! How unworthy that this great God should give us any place in his thoughts, or concern himself at all about us! But, O my soul, let us never be so wretched, so ungrateful, so wicked (since he is pleased to show so much love to us) as to suffer any more every empty toy, every idle roving imagination, every vain amusement to take place of him in our mind, and banish him from our thoughts. We cannot be without thinking of something all the day long; and what can we think of so noble, so desirable, so lovely, so charming, so profitable, so delightful, as our God? What are we then doing, when we let whole days pass in thinking of every thing else but him. Surely this can never be loving him with our whole mind, or indeed loving him at all for where the treasure is that we love, there both our heart and mind will be.
Consider 3rdly, the great advantages of ever keeping God in our mind, by a recollection of thought, and a remembrance of his presence. It is a most powerful restraint to keep us from all sin; ‘tis a perpetual spur to make us run on in the way of virtue; it furnishes us with counsel in our doubts, comfort in our afflictions, encouragement in our labours, defence against all our enemies, and protect ion in all dangers. It enlivens our faith, animates our hope, gives a continual increase to divine charity, and brings us in some measure into heaven, whilst we are here living upon earth, by ever keeping us in the company of God, invested as it were with him on all sides, and employed about him, by contemplation and love. O how true it is that as dissipation of thought and forgetfulness of God is the source of all our evil, so recollection of the mind in God is the source of all good! O, how happy then are those souls that always seek in this manner the face of the Lord, and turn their whole mind to him and to his love.
Conclude to banish from thee all impertinent thoughts and vain amusements, all roving imaginations and useless schemes, which have too often hitherto occupied thy mind, and shut out thy God and then thy beloved will quickly return to thee, and make thy soul his paradise.