Desire and the Love of God…
(from a September 1979 conference)


[In His providence] God sends us, moment by moment, things to be done and things to be accepted.  The things to be done are all the duties of the present moment as shown by God’s commandments, our state in life, and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.  The things to be accepted are all the circumstances and experiences of the present moment that we cannot do anything about, whether pleasant or unpleasant.  Now if we really want the Kingdom of God, if we really desire His will more than anything else, then we shall desire the duties of the present moment and be pleased with them, even if they are unpleasant duties; and we shall desire the circumstances of the present moment whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.  Our desire for God’s holy will will have overridden whatever desire we may have for pleasant things and whatever dislike we have for unpleasant ones.  If only we really put God first . . . what a peaceful and contented life we should live, for God is, in reality, always first.
Our greatest desire should be to see God.  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  Purity of heart is a matter of regulating our desires, of desiring what God desires, and having no desires at all for anything God does not want.  It is the fundamental intention or desire in our activities that determines their quality.  The pure in heart want at all times to give glory, to give pleasure to God. . . .
There is a twofold movement, therefore, in our spiritual life.  As we regulate or give up the disorderly desires that come to us from within or without, we grow in love for God, and as we grow in love for God, our desire for Him more and more easily drives out the evil or unnecessary desires.
There is a great deal of talk nowadays about peace, about racial harmony, about justice, and so on, even outside religious circles, and yet what a state the world is in:  wars and violence between nations and within them, industrial strife, the increase to an alarming degree of crimes of violence, and so on.  All these things are caused by desire.  When people have unlimited desires, all these terrible things happen:  cruelty, envy, hatred, revolts and wars.  Real love for mankind begins where desire leaves off.  Concupiscence, or disordered desire, began with original sin, and it is very much with us still. . . .
I read a little leaflet recently, and I want to end with a quotation from it, because it tells you one easy and very effective way in which you can increase your love and desire for God and decrease any unruly desires you may have.  This is what the author, a Blessed Sacrament Father, says:  “If you were to ask me what is the best and shortest prayer you could whisper to God at all time and in all places, I would unhesitatingly give you the answer in six words:  ‘O my God, I love you.’”  He goes on to say, “Then I would enthusiastically exhort you to keep repeating these burning words throughout your waking hours.  Nothing could be more gratifying to God, nothing more sanctifying for yourself, than such frequent and fervent acts of love.”  He goes on to show how you can put into these six words of love a great number of different meanings, according to whether you are feeling adoration, or hope, or sorrow for sin, or disappointment, or almost any other aspiration you feel in God’s presence.
If we desire God, we must desire prayer.  If we desire God more than anything else, we desire prayer more than anything else.  If we desire prayer more than anything else, we shall always find time for it.  But even when we have no time for prayer, we have got time to say those six words and make them a burning act of love:  O my God, I love you!”

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