Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Do I Love Thee?

Occasionally a "secular" song or poem becomes, for me, a prayer.  Because I find specific meaning in virtually every line of it, this is probably THE prime example:  

How do I love Thee? Let me count the ways.
I love Thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love Thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love Thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love Thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love Thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love Thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love Thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; 
And, if God choose,
I shall but love Thee better after death.
                 (Elizabeth Barret Browning)  

“The perfect love of God does not consist in delights, tears and sentiments of devotion that we generally desire.  It consists, rather, in a strong determination and burning desire to please God in all things, and in the effort to avoid offending Him as far as possible and to promote His glory.” (St. Teresa of Avila)

“We should love God because He is God, and the measure of our love should be to love Him without measure.” (St. Bernard)

“The surest way to determine whether one possesses love of God is to see whether he loves his neighbor.  These two loves are never separated.” (St. Teresa of Avila)

“Love means obeying You.” (Charles de Foucauld)

“The soul who is in love with God is a gentle, humble and patient soul.” (St. John of the Cross).

“Love of God is acquired by resolving to work and suffer for God and to abstain from all that displeases Him when the temptations arise.  The better to do this in great things one must grow accustomed to it in little things.” (St. Teresa of Avila)

“I ask Thy holy love, which will detach me from all creatures, and particularly from myself, that I may love nothing but Thee, and Thy most holy will.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori)