On the Love of God
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
"But one thing is Necessary" - Luke 10:42. What is this One (1) Thing
Necessary? It is not Necessary to Acquire Riches, nor to Obtain Dignitaries, nor to Gain a Great Name. The only thing Necessary, is to
Love God. Whatever is not done for the Love of
God, is Lost. This is the Greatest and the First (1st)
Commandment-of the Law. To the Pharisee, who asked what was the Greatest Commandment of the
Law, Jesus Christ answered: "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with thy Whole Heart,
and with thy Whole Soul, and with thy Whole Mind. This is the Greatest and the First Commandment" - Matthew 22:37-38. But this, which is the
Greatest-of the Commandments, is the Most Despised by Men; there are Few who Fulfill it.
The Greater Part of Men, Love their Relatives, their Friends, and even Brute Animals, but do not
Love God. Of these Saint John says, that they have not Life; that they are Dead.
"He that Loveth not, Abideth in Death" - 1John 3:14. Saint Bernard writes, that the Reward
of a Soul is Estimated-by the Measure-of Her Love for
God. "Quantitus animae aestimatur de mensura charitatis quam habet" - Sermon 27. Let us consider Today, in
the First (1st) Point, how 'Dear', this Command-of Loving God with our
Whole Heart, ought to be to us; and, in the Second (2nd), what we ought
to do, in-order-to Love God with our Whole Heart.
How Dear this Command of Loving God
with our Whole Heart, ought to be to us
What Object more-Noble, more-Magnificent, more-
Powerful, more-Grateful, more-Amiable, or more-
Loving than Himself, could God give us to
Love? Who was more-Noble than God? Some Boast-of the Nobility-of their
Family, for Five Hundred or a Thousand Years; but the
Nobility of God is Eternal (∞).
He is the Lord-of-All. Before God, all the
Angels in Heaven or all the Nobles on Earth, are but a Drop-of Water, or a Grain-of
Dust. "Behold, the Gentiles are as a Drop of a Bucket, and are Counted as the Smallest Grain of a Balance: Behold the Islands are
as a Little Dust" - Isaiah 40:15. Who more-Powerful than God?
He can do whatsoever He Wills. By an Act-of His Will,
He has Created this World, and by another Act, He can
Destroy it, when He Pleases. Who is more-Wealthy? He Posses all the Riches-of
Heaven and Earth. Who is more-Beautiful? Before the
Beauty-of God, all the Beauties-of Creatures disappear. Who more-Bountiful?
Saint Augustine says, that God has a Greater Desire to do Good to us, than we have
to Receive it. Who is more-Merciful? If the most Impious Sinner on Earth,
Humble himself before God, and Repent-of his
Sins, God Instantly Pardons and Embraces him.
Who more-Grateful? He does not leave Unrewarded, the Smallest Act we
Perform-for His Sake. Who more-Amiable? God is
so Amiable, that by barely Seeing and Loving Him in
Heaven, the Saints feel a Joy which makes them Perfectly Happy and
Content, for all Eternity (∞). The Greatest-of
the Torments-of the Damned, Arises-from Knowing that this
God is so Amiable, and that they cannot Love
Finally, who more Loving than God? In the Old Law, Men might Doubt whether
God Loved them with a Tender Love; but, after seeing
Him Die on a Cross for us, how can we Doubt-of the
Tenderness and the Ardent Affection with which He Loves us? Let us
Raise our Eyes, and Look-at Jesus, the True Son of God, Fastened-with Nails to a
Gibbet, and let us Consider the Intensity-of the Love which He bears us. The
Cross, the Wounds, says Saint Bernard, Cry-out and Proclaim-to us, that
He Truly Loves us. "Clamat crux, clamat vulnus, quod ipse
vere dilexit". And what more could He do to Convince us of His Great Love,
than to Lead a Life-of Sorrow for Thirty Three (33) Years, and afterwards,
Die in Torments on the Infamous Tree-of the Cross,
in-order-to Wash-away our Sins, with His Own Blood. "Christ
also hath Loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us" - Ephesians 5:2. "Who hath Loved us, and Washed us from our Sins in His
Own Blood" - Revelations 1:5. "How", says Saint Philip Neri, "is it possible for him who
Believes in God, to Love anything but God"? Contemplating God's Love towards Men, Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi,
began One Day to Ring the Bell, saying that she Wished-to Invite all the Nations-of the Earth to Love, so
Loving a God. Saint Francis de Sales used to say with Tears:
"To Love our God, it would be Necessary to have an Infinite Love; and we Throw-away our Love on Vain, Contemptible Things".
O Inestimable (∞) Value of Divine
Love, which makes us Rich before God! It is the
Treasure by which we gain His Friendship. "For She is an Infinite Treasure to Men:
which they that use, become the Friends of God" - Wisdom 7:14. The only Thing we ought-to Fear, says
Saint Gregory of Nyssa, is the Loss of God's Friendship; and the only Object-of
our Desires, should be its Attainment. "Unum terribile arbitror, ab amicitia Dei repelli; unum solum expetibile, amicitia
Dei". It is Love that Obtains the Friendship of God. Hence, according-to
Saint Lawrence Justinian, by Love, the Poor become Rich,
and without Love, the Rich are Poor.
"No Greater Riches than to have Charity. In Charity, the Poor Man is Rich, and without Charity, the Rich Man is Poor" -
Saint Lawrence. How Great is the Joy which a Person feels, in Thinking that he is Loved
by a Man of Exalted Rank! But how much Greater must be the Consolation which a Soul
Derives-from the Conviction that God Loves Her! "I Love them, that Love Me" - Proverbs 8:17.
In a Soul that Loves God, the Three (3)
Persons of the Adorable Trinity dwell. "If any one Love Me,
he will keep My Word, and My Father will Love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our Abode with him" - John 14:23. Saint Bernard writes,
that among all the Virtues, Charity is the One that Unites us to
God. "Charitas est virtus conjungens nos Deo". Saint Catherine of Bologna used to say, that
Love is the Golden Chain, that binds us to God. Saint Augustine says that
"Love is a 'Joint', connecting the Lover with the Beloved". Hence, were God not
Immense, where should He be Found? Find a Soul that
Loves God; and there God is certainly Found. Of this, Saint John assures us;
"He that Abideth in Charity, Abideth in God, and God in him" - 1John 4:16. A Poor Man
Loves Riches; but he does not therefore, Enjoy them; he may Love a
Throne, but he does not therefore Possess a Kingdom. But, the Man that Loves God, Possesses
God. "He Abideth in God, and God in him".
Besides, Saint Thomas says that Love Draws, in its Train all other Virtues,
and Directs them all, to Unite us more Closely-to God. Hence, because from Charity, all
Virtues are Born, Saint Lawrence Justinian called it the Mother of Virtues. Hence,
Saint Augustine used to say, "Love, and do what you Wish". He that Loves God, can
only do what is Good; if he does Evil, he shows that he has
Ceased to Love God. And when he Ceases to Love
Him, all things can Profit him Nothing. If, said the Apostle, I gave all my Possessions to the Poor, and my
Body to the Flames, and have not Charity, I am
Nothing. "And if I should Distribute all my Goods to Feed the Poor, and if I should Deliver my Body to be Burned, and have not
Charity, it Profiteth me Nothing" - 1Corinthians 13:3.
Love also Prevents us from Feeling the
Pains of this Life. Saint Bonaventure says, that the Love of God is like
Honey; it Sweetens things, the most Bitter. And
what more Sweet to a Soul that Loves God, than
to Suffer for Him? She knows that, by
Cheerfully-embracing Sufferings, She pleases God,
and that Her Pains shall be the Brightest Jewels in
Her Crown, in Paradise. And who is there that will not Willingly
Suffer and Die in Imitation-of Jesus Christ,
Who has Gone-before us, Carrying His Cross, to
Offer Himself in Sacrifice for the Love of us,
and Inviting us to Follow His Example? "If any Man will come after Me, let him Deny himself,
and Take up his Cross, and follow Me" - Matthew 16:24. For this Purpose, He has Condescended-to
Humble Himself to Death, and to the Opprobrious Death
of the Cross, for the Love of us. "He Humbled Himself,
becoming Obedient unto Death, even to the Death of the Cross" - Philippians 2:8.
What we ought to do in order to
Love God with our Whole Heart
Saint Teresa used to say, that in Calling a Soul to His Love,
God Bestows-upon Her an Exceedingly Great Favor.
Since then, most Beloved Brethren, God Calls us All to His Love, let us Thank and
Love Him with our Whole Heart. Because He Loves
us Intensely, He Wishes to be Tenderly Loved by us. "When",
says Saint Bernard, "God Loves, He Desires nothing else than to be Loved; for He Loves only, that He may be Loved -
Sermon 63. It was to Inflame us with His Divine Love, that the Eternal Word descended-from
Heaven. So He Himself has Declared, adding, that He
only Desires-to-see this Fire Lighted-up in our Hearts. "I
am Come, to Cast Fire on the Earth; and what Will I, but that it be Kindled?" - Luke 12:49. Let us now see what Means we ought to Adopt, in-order-to
In the First (1st) Place, we ought-to Guard Against every
Sin, whether Mortal or Venial. "If any one Love Me,
he will keep My Word" - John 14:23. The First (1st) Mark-of Love,
is to-Endeavor not to-Give the Smallest Displeasure to the Beloved. How can he be said to
Love God with his Whole Heart, who is not Afraid to Commit
Deliberate Venial Offences against God? Saint Teresa used to say to her Spiritual
Children: "From Deliberate Sin, however Small, may God Deliver you". But some will say: Venial Sin
is a Small Evil. Is it a Small Evil to Displease a
God, Who is so Good, and Who Loves
us so Tenderly?
In the Second (2nd) Place, to Love God with the Whole
Heart, it is Necessary-to have a Great Desire, to Love Him.
Holy Desires are the 'Wings' by which we Fly-to God; for as Saint Lawrence Justinian says, a
Good Desire gives us Strength to go Forward, and Lightens the Labor of Walking-in the
Way of God. "Vires subministrat, poenam exhibet leviorem". According to the Spiritual
Masters, he that does not Advance-in the Way-of the Lord, goes Back; but, on-the-other-hand,
God Cheerfully gives Himself to those who Seek-after Him.
"The Lord is Good to them that Hope in Him, to the Soul that Seeketh Him" - Lamentations 3:25.
He Fills-with His Own Good Things, all who Desire Him through
Love. "He hath filled the Hungry with Good Things" - Luke 1:53.
In the Third (3rd) Place, it is Necessary-to Resolve Courageously-to Arrive-at the
Perfect Love of God. Some Persons Desire-to Belong entirely-to God, but do
not Resolve-to Adopt the Means. It is of them the Wise Man says, "Desires Kill the Slothful" - Proverbs 21:25.
I would Wish, they say, to become a Saint; but still, with all their Desires, they never Advance a Single Step. Saint Teresa used to say that,
of these Irresolute Souls, the Devil is never Afraid". Because, if they do not Resolve Sincerely, to give themselves
to God without Reserve, they shall always Continue-in the same Imperfections.
But, on-the-other-hand, the Saint says, that God Wishes only from us, a True Resolution to become Saints;
He Himself will do the Rest. If then, we Wish-to Love God with our Whole
Heart, we must Resolve-to do without-Reserve, what is most Pleasing to Him,
and to begin at-once, to put our Hands to the Work. "Whatsoever thy Hand is able to do, do it Earnestly" - Ecclesiastes
9:10. What you can do Today, do not Put-off till Tomorrow; do it as-soon-as Possible. A certain Nun, in the Convent-of Torri degli Specchi, in Rome,
led a Tepid Life; but being Called-by God, in a Retreat, to His Perfect Love, she
Resolved-to Correspond Immediately-to the Divine Call, and said to her Director, with a sincere Resolution:
Father, I Wish to become a Saint, and to become one Immediately. And from that Moment, with the Aid-of
God's Grace, she Lived and Died a Saint. We must then, Resolve-to Acquire the
Perfect Love of God, and must Immediately Adopt the 'Means' of becoming Saints.
Mary Depicted as -
'A Garden Enclosed' - Canticles (Song-of-Songs) 4:12
The First (1st) 'Means' is to Detach the Heart from all
Creatures, and to Banish-from the Soul, every Affection which is not for God.
The First (1st) Question, which the Ancient Fathers of the Desert, put to Everyone who sought Admission-into
their Society, was, Do you bring an Empty Heart, that the Holy Ghost may be able to Fill it? If the World be not
Expelled-from the Heart, God cannot Enter it. Saint Teresa used to say,
"Detach the Heart from Creatures; Seek God, and you will Find Him". Saint Augustine writes, that the Romans Worshipped
Thirty Thousand Gods; but, among these Gods, the Roman Senate Refused-to Admit Jesus
Christ. Because, said they, He is a Proud God,
Who requires-that He alone, should be Adored. This, they had Reason-to Say; for our
God Wishes-to Possess our Whole Soul. He is, as
Saint Jerome says, a Jealous God. "Zelotypus est Jesus". And therefore,
He will have no Rival, in the Affections-of our Heart. Hence, the Spouse, in
the Canticles, is called "an Enclosed Garden". "My Sister, my Spouse, is a Garden
Enclosed" - Canticles 4:12. The Soul, then, that Wishes-to belong Entirely-to
God, must be Shut-against all Love, which is not for God.
Hence the Divine Spouse is said to be Wounded, by One-of the Eyes-of
His Spouse. "Thou hast Wounded My Heart, My Sister, My Spouse, thou hast Wounded My Heart with
One of thy Eyes" - Canticles 4:9. One of her Eyes Signifies, that in all her Thoughts and Actions, the
only End-of the Spouse, is to Please God. While in their Devout Exercises, Worldlings Propose-to themselves Different
Objects: sometimes their own Interest, sometimes to Please their Friends, and sometimes to Please themselves. But the Saints Seek-only to Please
God, to Whom they Turn and Say: "For what have I in Heaven?
and besides Thee, what do I Desire upon Earth? For Thee, my Flesh and my Heart hath fainted away: Thou art the God of my Heart, and the God that is my
Portion Forever" - Psalm 72:25-26. We should do the Same, if we Wish-to be Saints. If, says Saint Chrysostom, we do some things Pleasing-to
God, what else but His Pleasure do we Seek? "Si dignus fueris
agere aliquid, quod Deo placet, aliam praeter id mercedem requiris?" What Greater Reward can a Creature obtain,
than to-Please its Creator? Hence, in all we Desire or Do, we should seek Nothing but God.
A certain Solitary, called Zeno, walking through the Desert, Absorbed-in Thought, met Emperor Macedonius, going to Hunt. The Emperor asked him what he was
doing. In answer, the Solitary said: You go in Quest of Animals, and I Seek God alone. Saint Francis de Sales used to
say, that the Pure Love of God, Consumes all, that is not
Moreover, to Love God with our Whole Heart, it is Necessary-to
Love Him without Reserve. Hence we must Love Him with a Love
of Preference. We must Prefer Him before every other Good, and must be Resolved-to
Lose a Thousand Lives, rather than Forfeit His Friendship. We must say
with Saint Paul: "For I am sure that neither Death, nor Life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor Things Present, nor
Things to Come, nor Might, nor Height, nor Depth, nor any other Creature, shall be able to Separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Lord" - Romans 8:38-39. We must also Love Him with a Love of Benevolence,
Desiring-to see Him Loved by All; and therefore, if we Love God, we should Ask as-much-as
Possible, to Kindle in others, the Fire-of His Love, or at least, should Pray for the
Conversion of All, who do not Love Him. We must
Love Him with a Love of Sorrow, Regretting every
Offence offered-to Him, more-than every Evil which we could
Suffer. We must Love Him with a Love of Conformity to the Divine Will.
The Principal Office-of Love, is to Unite the Wills
of Lovers, and to make the Soul say: "Lord, what Wilt Thou have
me to do?" - Acts 9:6. Lord, tell me what Thou dost Wish-from me; I Desire
to do it. I Wish-for Nothing; I Wish-only what Thou Willest. Hence, we ought Frequently-to Offer ourselves to
God without-Reserve, that He may do with us, and with all we have, whatever
He Pleases. We must Love God with a Love of Patience.
This is that Strong Love, by which True Lovers are Known. "Love
is strong as Death" - Canticles 8:6. "There is Nothing too Difficult", says Saint Augustine,
"to be Conquered by the Fire of Love". For, adds the Saint, in doing what we Love,
Labor is not Felt, or, if it be Felt, the very Labor is
Loved. "In eo quod amatur, aut non laboratur, aut labor amatur". Saint Vincent de Paul used to say, that
Love is Measured-by the Desire-of the Soul to Suffer
and to be Humbled, in-order-to Please God. Let God
be Pleased, though it should Cost us, the Loss of our Life and of all Things. To Gain-all,
it is Necessary-to Leave-all. All for All, said Saint Thomas a Kempis. The Reason we do not become Saints is, as Saint
Teresa says, because, as we do not Give God all our Affections, so He does
not Give us His Perfect Love. We must then say with the Spouse in the Canticles: "My
Beloved to me, and I to Him Who feedeth among the Lilies" - Canticles 2:16. My Beloved has given
Himself Entirely-to me; it is but Just that I give myself Without Reserve, to
Him. Saint John Chrysostom says, that when a Soul has given
Herself Entirely-to God, She no-longer Cares-for
Ignominies and Sufferings; She Loses the Desire-of all Things; and not
finding Repose, in any Creature, She is always in Search-of Her Beloved;
Her sole-Concern is to-Find, Her Beloved.
To Obtain and Preserve Divine Love, Three (3) Things are Necessary:
Meditation, Communion, and Prayer.
First (1st), Meditation is Necessary. He who Thinks but-Little on
God, Loves Him but-Little. "My Heart grew Hot within me:
and in my Meditation", said David, "a Fire shall Flame out" - Psalm 38:4.
Meditation, and particularly Meditation-on the Passion-of
Jesus Christ, is the Blessed Furnace in which the Love of
God is Kindled and Fanned. "He brought me into the Cellar of Wine, He set in order, Charity in me" - Canticles 2:4.
The Souls that are Introduced-into this Heavenly Cellar, by a Single Glance-of
Jesus Christ, Crucified and Dying for the
Love of us, are Wounded and Inebriated-with Holy Love. For Saint Paul says, that
Jesus Christ Died for us all, that each of us may Live-only, to
Love Him. "And Christ Died for all; that they also who Live, may not now Live to themselves, but unto Him, Who Died for
them - 2Corinthians 5:15. The Communion is another Holy Furnace, in which we
are Inflamed-with Divine Love. "The Holy Eucharist", says Saint Chrysostom,
"is a Fire which Inflames us, that, like Lions breathing Fire, we may Retire from the Holy Table, being made Terrible to the
Devil" - Homily 41. Above all, Prayer of Petition is Necessary. It is by-means-of
Prayer, that God Dispenses all His Favors, but particularly the Great
Gift of Divine Love. To make us Ask this Love,
Meditation is a Great Help. Without Meditation we shall ask Little or Nothing from
God. We must then, always Everyday, and Several Times in the Day, ask God to give us
the Grace to Love Him with our Whole Heart.
Saint Gregory says, that God Wishes to be Compelled and Importuned, by our Petitions, to Bestow-upon us
His Graces. "God Wishes to be Entreated; to be Compelled; He Wishes in a certain manner, to be
Overcome by Importunity". Let us then Continually Ask-of Jesus Christ, His Holy
Love; and let us His Divine Mother Mary, who
is the Treasurer of all His Graces, to Obtain it for us.
She is called by Saint Bernardine, the Dispensatrix of God's Graces.
"All Graces are Dispensed through Her Hands". It is through Her Intercession, that
we must Obtain the Great Gift of Divine Love.
- End of Liguori Sermon -
Prayer for the Graces Necessary for Salvation
Eternal Father, Your Son has Promised that You will Grant us all the Graces which we ask for in His Name. In the Name and
Merits of Jesus Christ, I ask the following Graces for myself and for all Mankind. Please give me a Lively Faith in all that the Church Teaches.
Enlighten me, that I may know the Vanity of the Goods of this World, and the Immensity of the Infinite Good that You are. Make me also see the
Deformity of the Sins I have Committed, that I may Humble myself and Detest them as I should.
Give me a Firm Confidence of Receiving Pardon for my Sins, Holy Perseverance, and the Glory of Heaven, through the Merits of
Jesus Christ, and the Intercession of Mary. Give me a Great Love for You, that will Detach me from the Love of this World, and of myself, so that I may
Love none other, but You.
I Beg of You a Perfect Resignation to Your Will. I Offer myself entirely to You, that You might do with me, and all that
belongs to me, as You Please.
I Beg of You a Great Sorrow for my Sins.
I ask You to give me the Spirit of True Humility and Meekness, that I may Accept with Peace, and even with Joy, all the
Contempt, Ingratitude and Ill-treatment I may receive. At the same time, I also ask You to give me Perfect Charity, which shall make me wish well to
those who have done Evil to me.
Give me Love for the Virtue of Mortification, by which I may Chastise my Rebellious Senses and oppose my Self-Love. Give me a
Great Confidence in the Passion of Jesus Christ and in the Intercession of Mary Immaculate. Give me a Great Love for the Blessed Sacrament, and a
Tender Devotion and Love to Your Holy Mother. Give me, above all, Holy Perseverance, and the Grace always to Pray for it, especially in Time-of
Temptation, and at the Hour-of Death.
Finally, I recommend to You the Holy Souls of Purgatory, my Relatives and Benefactors, and in a special manner I recommend to
You all those who Hate me or who have in any way Offended me; I Beg You to Render them Good, for the Evil they have done or may wish to do me. Grant
that, by Your Goodness, I may come One Day to sing Your Mercies in Heaven; for my Hope is in the Merits of Your Blood and in the Patronage of Mary.
Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me.
Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls
This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In
1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it,
or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the
Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.
O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and
O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of
O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your
Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing
Souls, Pray for us.
Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .