Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

4/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

The love of God is the only kind of love that will fulfill us

We love God when we choose to love Him, when we direct all our desires to Him, when we seek to know Him, and when we strive to persevere.   For our love of God to be authentic, it must involve our whole being: our intellect, our will, and our desires.  St. Jose Maria Escrivá expressed the love of God in this way, quoting a Spanish ballad: "I have no use for divided hearts: I give mine whole, and not in parts" (The Way, no 145).


By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

Catholic Online (

4/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Year of Faith, Daily Homily, Gospel of St. John, Love of God, , Christian Love, Obedience, Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, St. Theresa Sugar Land, TX

CATHOLIC ONLINE (Sugar Land, TX). When asked which of the commandments of the Law was the greatest, Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).  On another occasion, he adds the qualification "all your strength" (Luke 10:27) to the equation.  Clearly, Jesus is interested in a love that is whole, complete, and entire.  

This is the love to which God calls us.  This is the only kind of love that will fulfill us.

We use the word "love" to refer to many different degrees of affection or preference.  We say that we "love" a particular kind of food, entertainment, or sport.  We also say that we "love" our friends and family.  These loves are not equal.  Only by paying attention to the context in which the word is used can we fully appreciate the quality of love to which a person refers.

The language of the Bible, however, admits of a greater nuance.  In the Greek of the New Testament, there are four distinct words that are used for love.  To refer to highest form of love, the sacred writers used the word "agape."  This word refers to a love that is supernatural, all-embracing and sacrificial.

This is how God loves us, and how wants us to love him.

Is it even possible to love God in this way?  How do we engage our mind, heart, soul and strength so that they help us to love God and to grow in that love?  According to St. Thomas Aquinas, these Biblical terms have a specific meaning and correspond to the powers of our soul.

In St. Thomas' understanding, "heart" refers to the human will, the power of decision-making.  "Soul" refers to the passions and appetites. These are powers that move us to some action, whether good or evil.  "Mind" refers to the intellect, the power to know and understand.  "Strength" refers to our commitment to carry through with difficult tasks. 

We love God when we choose to love Him, when we direct all our desires to Him, when we seek to know Him, and when we strive to persevere.   For our love of God to be authentic, it must involve our whole being: our intellect, our will, and our desires.  St. Jose Maria Escrivá expressed the love of God in this way, quoting a Spanish ballad: "I have no use for divided hearts: I give mine whole, and not in parts" (The Way, no 145).

During the Last Supper, Jesus gives his disciples another key for interpreting the quality of their love for God.  "Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me" (John 14:21).  Just when we think that the love of God is beyond us, Jesus gives us some concrete direction.  

Obedience to God's commandments draws us into the love of God.

The obey God is not a blind or heartless compliance.  Obedience requires that we listen to God, that we hear him and take his words to heart, acting on them freely and joyously.  God gives us his word through the Sacred Scriptures and in Sacred Tradition, preserved in the constant teaching of the Catholic Church.

And so that our obedience might be animated by joy, Jesus gives us a glimpse of the fruit of a life of fidelity:  "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him" (John 14:23).  Through his gracious love, and with our correspondence to the divine will, God will actually come to live within us by his grace.  What could be more marvelous?  To possess God, not as an idea or desire or memory, but in Himself.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes a beautiful prayer of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity that expresses this desire with great simplicity and clarity:

"O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action" (CCC, no. 260).


Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is the Pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas. You are invited to visit them on the Web at:


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.

Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading

Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading

Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading

The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading

Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading

Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading

The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading

Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading

WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading

All Year of Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 37:21-28
21 say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the ... Read More

Psalm, Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13
10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. On the ... Read More

Gospel, John 11:45-57
45 Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 28th, 2015 Image

St. Venturino of Bergamo
March 28: Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook

Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter