THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
“Charity hopeth all things”
HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST HOPES FOR ALL THINGS FROM HIM
St. Francis de Sales says: “If by a supposition of what is impossible, there could be an infinite Good (that is a God) to whom we belonged in no way whatever, and with Whom we could have no union or communication, we should certainly esteem Him more than ourselves; so that we might feel a great desire of being able to love Him; but we should not actually love Him, because love is built upon union; for love is a friendship, and the foundation of friendship is to have things in common; and its end is union.” Thus St. Thomas teaches us that Charity does not exclude the desire of the reward prepared for us in Heaven by Almighty God; on the contrary, it makes us look to it as the chief object of our love, for such is God, Who constitutes the bliss of Paradise; for friendship implies that friends mutually rejoice in one another.
The Spouse in the Canticles refers to this reciprocal interchange of goods, when she says: My beloved to me and I to him (Cant. ii. 16). In Heaven the soul belongs wholly to God and God belongs wholly to the soul, according to the measure of her capacity and of her merits.
From the persuasion the soul has of her own nothingness in comparison with the infinite attractions of Almighty God, and aware consequently that the claims of God on her love are beyond measure greater than her own can be on the love of God, she is far more anxious to procure the Divine pleasure than her own enjoyment; so that she is more gratified by the pleasure she affords Almighty God by giving herself entirely to Him, than by God’s giving Himself entirely to her; but at the same time she is delighted when God thus gives Himself to her, inasmuch as she is thereby animated to give herself up to God with a greater intensity of love. She indeed rejoices at the glory which God imparts to her, but for the sole purpose of referring it back to God Himself, and of thus doing her utmost to increase the Divine glory. At the sight of God in Heaven the soul cannot help loving Him with all her strength; on the other hand, God cannot hate anyone that loves Him: but if (supposing what is impossible) God could hate a soul that loves Him, and if a beatified soul could exist without loving God, she would much rather endure all the pains of hell on condition of being allowed to love God as much as He should hate her, than to live without loving God, even though she could enjoy all the delights of Paradise. So it is; for that conviction which the soul has of God’s boundless claims upon her love gives her a greater desire to love God than to be loved by Him.