Heaven and earth and all that is in them tell me wherever I look that I should love you, Lord, and they cease not to tell it to all, so that there is no excuse for them. But what is it that I love when I love you? Not the beauty of any bodily thing, nor the order of seasons, not the brightness of light that rejoices the eye, nor the sweet melodies of all songs, nor the sweet fragrance of flowers and ointments and spices: not manna nor honey, not the limbs that carnal love embraces. None of these things do I love in loving my God. Yet in a sense I do love light and melody and fragrance and food and embrace when I love my God — the light and the voice and the fragrance and the food and embrace in the soul, when that light shines upon my soul which no place can contain, that voice sounds which no time can take from me, I breathe that fragrance which no wind scatters, I eat the food which is not lessened by eating, and I lie in the embrace which satiety never comes to sunder. This it is that I love, when I love my God.
(Confessions X, 5, 8.)
ST AUGUSTINE: You Loved Me First
Look down upon me and have mercy on me according to the judgment of those who love your Name. For you first loved me, so that I might love you. By loving you, I love myself, and thus I am wisely able also to love my neighbor as myself. Lord, teach me how to act; teach me how to do your will. For though I hear, and bear in mind what I hear, I am by no means supposed to have learned if I do not act.
-- Commentary on Psalm 118 (27), 5-8
Prayer. Lord, you first loved me, so that I might love you.
-- Commentary on Psalm 118 (27), 15
ST FRANCIS DE SALES:
The Christian must love his or her own body as a living image of the incarnate Savior, as a shoot from the same trunk, and, as a consequence, bound to Him by blood relationship. In a special manner we must love our body after having received the divine body of the Redeemer in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. In Communion we renew our alliance with Christ's body, having been dedicated and consecrated to the Divine Goodness by means of baptism, confirmation and the other sacraments.
(TLG, Book 3, Ch. 8; O. IV, p. 193)
SELF is the Gorgon. Vanity sees it in the mirror of other men and lives. Pride studies it for itself and is turned to stone.