Visitation Spirit

Charity is the love reserved for God

Happy New Year! If there is any resolution worth making, it would be deepening our love of God. This week we are moving into the section of from Saint Francis’ Treatise on the Love of God about what it means to love God. Be sure to watch the video “What Does it Mean to Love God” to help deepen your reflection and give you a new way to embrace his timeless wisdom. (If you prefer to read St. Francis’ original text, this week’s video covers Chapters 13–18, starting with “On The Difference Of Loves.”)

We have a natural desire to love God above all things

The affinity between God and man’s soul

St. Francis says: “As soon as man thinks with even a little attention of the divinity, he feels a certain delightful emotion of the heart, which testifies that God is God of the human heart; and our understanding is never so filled with pleasure as in this thought of the divinity, the smallest knowledge of which, as says the prince of philosophers, is worth more than the greatest knowledge of other things; as the least beam of the sun is more luminous than the greatest of the moon or stars, yea is more luminous than the moon and stars together.”

  1. The word “love” has many different meanings in our society. We may say “I love ice cream” or “I love Saturday mornings” or “I love my spouse.” In your opinion, do these statements really refer to the term “love” as St. Francis de Sales understands it? If not, why?
  2. According to St. Francis de Sales, charity is the love by which we love God with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole will. This is a very holistic love. How does this love relate to expressions of love such as: “I love ice cream.”; “I love Saturday mornings.”; “Out of all my friends, I love Jennifer the best.”?
  3. In Book 1 chapter 15, St. Francis de Sales says that we have a natural attraction, or affinity, to God based on three areas. What are they?
  4. We have a natural desire to love God above all things, but on our own we cannot love God. What must we receive from God in order to begin to love God?

For Saint Francis’ own words, please read Chapters 13–18, starting with “On The Difference Of Loves.”

Click to watch the above video reflection, “What Does it Mean to Love God“.

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