Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Christian Heritage - June 15 - We Must Love the Creator

The Spirit of truth shuns those whose love does not reach beyond themselves. His will is that he, and he alone, should be loved for his own sake. Not only does he desire to be the sole object of our love, but our love for him must be total. He will have no rival in love, any more than he can be rivaled in the generosity with which he rewards those who love him.

Yet God desires to be loved by us in such a way that we love everything else together with him, and love nothing apart from him. As their Creator he is the source of all created things, and every created thing is good simply because he made it. In loving created things, therefore, we should love their Creator. We must not love them for their own sake, but for the sake of him who gave them existence. Anyone who sets his heart on gold or silver, material goods, or possessions of whatever kind for their own sake is a stranger to the Father's love. It is the Creator we must love in all created things, and all created things in him. By loving him in this way we love everything else too, yet God is really and truly the sole object of our love.

Ogerius of Locedio (AD 1205-1264), Sermo 8, 2-3

Ogerius was an abbot in Piedmont and a disciple of Bernard of Clairvaux (AD 1090-1153). Bernard - yes, St. Bernard - wrote a famous commentary on the Songs of Songs, from which many, many Christians today draw the imagery of God as "the lover of our soul" (as allegorically shown in the Song of Songs). My friend, Joel, from the University of Chicago told me he nearly wept every time he read Bernard's commentary. Oh, how I miss Joel.

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