Thursday, June 12, 2008

A man can give his whole heart habitually to God, that is he will never think or desire anything contrary to the love of God.

The friendship with God will increase in the only way in which it is possible for the love of friendship to increase. A man grows in the love of friendship when his love for his friend grows stronger and leads him to do things more frequently for his friend. Consider the growth of friendship between a man and the woman he marries. At the beginnings of their courtship he is willing to spend some of his time and money on her. As his love grows he spends more time and more money on her. As it grows still further he begins to admit her to the private world of his thoughts and ambitions, his hopes and disappointments. Then he begins to think of her troubles and sorrows, her triumphs and joys. Later he marries her and shares his life with her and shares his life with her. Ultimately he is ready even to give his life for her. In a similar way man can grow in the friendship of God. As his love of God grows he is willing to give more of himself for and to God. He begins to think more of God than of himself. He is more likely to do things for God than for himself. The intensity of his love for God grows within him until he is ready to give even his life for God. We might state it simply by saying that the intensity of his love for God grows stronger and stronger and becomes more and more likely to burst forth into acts of love of God.
Every new act of love of God will at least dispose a man to an increase in his love for God. Love actually increases only when it becomes more fervent. A man may be friendly with a woman top the extent of taking her out to dinner and a dance. And the more often he does so, the more likely he is to come to love her more ardently. But his love of her does not actually increase until he loves her enough to introduce her to his family, or to ask her to marry him, or to marry her and share his whole life with her. Si it is with man's love for God. Every act of love will dispose man to love God more. But only a more fervent act of love of God will actually increase his love of God.
In this life the love of man for God is always capable of growth. Charity is a share of God's own love, which is infinite. it is therefore always capable of further growth. Its growth depends on the goodness and power of God which are infinite. And as charity grows in a man through the divine power, so does man's ability to receive a further increase in his love of God.
Since God is infinitely lovable in Himself, no man can ever love God as much as God ought to be loved. God alone can love Himself infinitely. But man's love for God can be perfect when man loves God as much as he can. This can happens in three ways. A man may love God with the entire devotion of his heart or will. He thinks always of God. He is always actually loving God. This is the perfection of love for God which is found in the Saints in Heaven. In this present life man cannot love God with such an entire devotion. The need for working or eating or sleeping and so on prevent a man from giving his whole attention to God. But even in this present life a man can try to give to God all the love and attention that are not needed for for the necessities of daily living. This perfection of love is possible for man but not common among men. Lastly a man can give his whole heart habitually to God, that is he will never think or desire anything contrary to the love of God. He may not be thinking of God as much as he could, but he never does anything that would destroy his love for God.