THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES US LOVERS OF GOD

 Andrea_del_Verrocchio,_Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Baptism_of_Christ_-_Uffizi

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spiritwhom he has given us” (Romans 5:5)

If truth be told we were created to be great lovers of God, and hopefully our happy eternity will be just that! Tauler, the renowned mystic and Dominican, says in one of his sermons that “so incomprehensible is the Holy Spirit in His greatness, so infinite in His loving richness, that all His greatness and infinity eludes any image our human reason could form.” Words like these, meditated on, will no doubt increase our love for God.

A basic principle of our faith (which, from time to time, eludes us) is that, due to our fallen nature, we do not have the capacity to truly love God, but rather, as the spiritual writers lament, we are turned towards self (away from God) and we tend to find our repose in created things.

In short, to love God, we must be born again from above (see John 3:1-21). Thus God is forced, so to speak, to give us a commandment to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27), but even then we find this beautiful commandment hard to put into practice. We are like that desperate soul at the end of the seventh chapter of Romans who cries out: “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24). And how does Saint Paul respond to this cry of help? He writes the eighth chapter of Romans wherein Paul mentions the Holy Spirit (or Spirit) some eighteen times. The solution to this person’s distress – and ours too – is the Holy Spirit!

Saint Thomas Aquinas, the “angelic doctor,” says three amazing things about the Holy Spirit that I would like to bring to your attention. I use the adjective “amazing” because what he says is truly awesome! These three statements of Saint Thomas, set forth below, are drawn from three separate documents (see references below):

1. SAINT THOMAS SAYS THAT “THE SPIRIT WHO INSTILLS IN US THE LOVE WITH WHICH GOD LOVES HIMSELF IS THE HOLY SPIRIT”

Comment: The foundation of all true love is the Holy Spirit. The bond of love uniting God the Father and God the Son is the Holy Spirit. “God is love” (1 John 3: 23). We thus begin to live and love, as Father Leen points out, by the very life of God!

2. SAINT THOMAS SAYS THAT “THE NEW LAW IS THE HOLY SPIRIT IN PERSON”

Comment: The way we keep the commandments, including the great commandment to love God and neighbor, is through the power of the Holy Spirit – which is a towering theme in Romans, chapter eight.

3. SAINT THOMAS SAYS THAT “THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES US LOVERS OF GOD”

Comment: The very love which unites the Holy Trinity, which is the Holy Spirit, is also given to us, so that we can love God with His own love! We are made “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

In light of the above discussion, and the illuminating insights of Saint Thomas Aquinas, what profound devotion we should have to our interior guest, the Holy Spirit! We need the Holy Spirit in order to love God, and God graciously – through the merits of Jesus Christ – gives Him to us! Listen to Saint Paul:

 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spiritwhom he has given us” (Romans 5:5)

“If you only knew what the gift of God is” (John 4:10).

 Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

 

ReferencesThe quote from Tauler is found on page 91 of The Classics of Western Spirituality: Johannes Tauler Sermons.        With respect to the first quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas, Blessed Abbot Marmion in Christ, The Life Of The Soul quotes Saint Thomas on page 17: “Therefore the Spirit who instills in us the love with which God loves Himself is called the Holy Spirit.” The second quote from Saint Thomas appears on page 255 of Holy Spirit of God  by F.X. Durrwell (Servant Books), and fully reads: “The new law which is the Holy Spirit in person.” The third quote from Saint Thomas appears on page 46 of Volume I, The Three Ages of the Spiritual Life, by Father Garrigou-LaGrange (TAN Books), and reads in full: “Therefore, because the Holy Spirit makes us lovers of God, it follows that by the Holy Spirit that we are constituted contemplators of God….” Fathers Grou and Garrigou-LaGrange make the point that as the result of original sin and actual sin, we are “turned away from God” and fixated on self and things. With respect to the reference to Father Leen, see pages 63-70 of his book, The Holy Spirit (Scepter Press).

Image: The Baptism of Christ by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1475 (Public Domain, U.S.A.) In baptism we received the great gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our soul along with sanctifying grace.

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

All rights reserved.

Any ads following this note are by WordPress and not CatholicStrength.

   

Advertisements

One comment

Leave Your Own Comment Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s