Love Alone: Christian Spiritual Reflection #1

PictureQuoteTeresaOfAvilaLoveAloneWhat is the most important thing for our spiritual health, our life? What will lead us most precipitously into the loving heart of Christ?  In the abstract the answer may be obvious to many, but the more important question has to do with how we focus on that answer, whether we live as if it is our primary and all encompassing motivation.

Jesus told us that we can sum up the entire law under two main Commandments, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as our self. The Holy Spirit tells us through St. Paul that any one thing, no matter how important it may seem to be, is nothing without love. “If I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13). If I meditate daily, go to Mass daily, and pray the Rosary daily, but do not have love I am nothing. We are always attempting to identify our spiritual health with various outward practices, and certainly, these practices are usually involved with love in a fruitful way. The problem is that if we do not take the time to originate all things in love these practices lose their power to transform us. Our primary and all-encompassing focus must be on love. We must begin and end everything with love, with sacrifice, with offering, by giving our lives, our very selves to God. If we don’t get this we don’t get God.

Isn’t it true that we often use prayers, rosaries, mortificaions, beliefs, teachings, apparitions, charitable acts, masses, meditations, moralities, fastings and other pieties as crutches? By a crutch I mean a spiritual practice that makes us feel spiritually secure but that does not, at least not fully, flow out of a passionate love for God and neighbor. We could ensure that these many pious offerings be more pleasing to God if we take time to originate them from the source, the wellspring of his love.

We have done little more than pose a question here. How are we to go about doing this? One thing is to talk about love, love, love. Another thing entirely is to devise a plan of action to incorporate the reality of God’s love into our life.


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2 Responses to Love Alone: Christian Spiritual Reflection #1

  1. Rosemary says:

    This made me think of a little book by von Balthasar called “Love Alone is Worthy of Faith.” I wrote a paper about it in college – I think the point is that Jesus’ love he pours out for us is absolutely the only reason we should trust him. That was a long time ago though. In this Year of Faith I keep thinking of that book. Maybe I will at least read a synopsis of it online if not read the whole thing again. Thanks for this, Joe.

  2. Denise says:

    I was just praying for the meaning of this scripture from Jeremiah 15 when I found the image from this post. Thank you.

    “If you repent, I will restore you
    that you may serve me;
    if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
    you will be my spokesman.

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