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THE HOLY SPIRIT CHANGED THE CARNAL MINDS – ON JOHN 14:23-31

THE HOLY SPIRIT CHANGED THE CARNAL MINDS – ON JOHN 14:23-31

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him.” And so forth. John 14:23-31.

Homily of St Gregory, Pope

It would be well, beloved brethren, to consider briefly the words of the lesson from the Gospel, that afterwards we may have more time to spend on the consideration of this great festival [Pentecost]. Today the Holy Spirit, suddenly with a sound, came down on the disciples and changed their carnal minds, filling them with love for himself; and while outwardly fiery tongues appeared, inwardly their hearts were kindled into flame; for while they received the presence of God in the form of fire, the flames of his love engulfed them. The Holy Spirit himself is love, and so John says: “God is love.” He, then, that desires God with all his mind, in truth already possesses him whom he loves. Neither can anyone love God, if he does not possess him whom he loves.

The Holy Spirit is love

But behold, if anyone of you were asked whether he loved God, he would reply with confidence and conviction of mind: “I do.” But in the very beginning of this lesson you have heard what the Truth himself says: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word.” The test of love, then, is whether it is shown in works. And so in his epistle St John says again: “He who says, ‘I love God,’ and does not keep his commandments is a liar.” For then do we truly love God and keep his commandments, if we deny ourselves the gratification of our appetites. He who still abandons himself to unlawful desires, certainly does not love God, since of his own will he opposes him.

Preparing the house

“And my Father will love him, and we will come to him and will make our abode with him.” Consider, beloved brethren, what a great honour it is to have God coming into our hearts as a guest. Indeed, if some rich or powerful friend were entering our house, we should make all haste to have the house cleaned throughout, lest he should see something that would displease him. Let the one, then, who is preparing the house of his mind to receive God, cleanse it from all the filth of evil works. But mark what the Truth himself says: “We will come and make our abode with him.” For there are some, whose hearts he enters, but does not abide there. This is because, although they have been brought to acknowledge God on account of something that has pricked them with remorse, yet in time of temptation, they forget that very thing for which their conscience pricked them, and so they return to renew those offences as though they had never repented.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

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I DO NOT ASK TO BE LOVED BY PEOPLE, BUT ONLY THAT I MAY HAVE THE POWER OF LOVING

One of the greatest punishments which God can inflict upon a soul is to take from it “the means of doing good.” This punishment God inflicts “for a time” in His mercy on those from whom much can be expected and who are not faithful. To-day, for example, you have not encountered a single destitute one in your path. It was God who prevented them from appearing.

It was God who prevented them from appearing

You felt moved at the sight of a mendicant who appealed to you, but found that you had not a single piece of money. It was God who had caused you to forget the money which you wished to give.

Search your heart; “perhaps to-day you were not worthy to give alms.”

These words may bring a smile, perhaps, even on the lips of pious people, but the profoundly Catholic souls to whom I address myself will understand me. The giving of alms is a grace which the good God does not bestow on everyone.

The giving of alms is a grace which the good God does not bestow on everyone

Your entire day passes without your having found an occasion to render even the most trifling service, without your being able to visit the Blessed Sacrament for even a few minutes’ meditation, without your having thought of praying for anyone…

It was God who left you an entirely useless day – what a void!

It was God who left you an entirely useless day, as a corrective punishment perhaps, for having yesterday abandoned your heart too much to creatures.

What a void in a life is a day without devotion, without some special prayer, without some charitable action for God’s sake!

To have no one to make happy – what a nightmare!

God also inflicts this punishment, and, alas! for a long period, upon those who in their youth have wasted in vague reveries the affection which filled their hearts.

Poor souls, what an expiation is this!

To have no one to make happy – no aged father to care for, no true friend to share our affection or our riches, no afflicted person to console, no child or ignorant person to instruct, no blessing to ask of heaven for one dearer to us than ourselves…

To have nothing but self… always self… the only object of our thoughts, of our efforts, of our labours – how hard, how sad is this!

To have nothing but self, always self, self… how sad is this!

“Charity flies from me,” said the good man who was bitterly expiating a youth passed far from God. “Charity flies from me. I feel the desire of giving, of devoting myself, but I cannot; I do not know how; I hesitate; I try, but I am unkind, and give ungraciously… The good God wishes nothing of me. Oh! how great is this punishment!”

Oh! my God, punish me in some other way, but leave me some one to whom I may devote myself. I do not ask from thee that I may be loved, but only that I may have the power of loving. I do not ask that my devotion may be known, but only that I may have the grace of devoting myself. As long as I can devote myself to others it will seem, at least, that thou hast not entirely abandoned me.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin 1889

 

 

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8th JANUARY, BIBLE READING (1 JOHN 4:11-18)

AS LONG AS WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER GOD WILL LIVE IN US.

My dear people,
since God has loved us so much,
we too should love one another.
No one has ever seen God;
but as long as we love one another
God will live in us
and his love will be complete in us.
We can know that we are living in him
and he is living in us
because he let’s us share his Spirit.
We ourselves saw and we testify
that the Father sent his Son
as saviour of the world.
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God lives in him, and he in God.

We ourselves have known and put our faith in
God’s love towards ourselves.
God is love
and anyone who lives in love lives in God,
and God in him.
Love will come to perfection in us
when we can face the day of Judgement without fear;
because even in this world
we have become as he is.
In love there can be no fear,
but fear is driven out by perfect love;
because to fear is to expect punishment,
and anyone who is afraid still is imperfect in love.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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7th JANUARY, BIBLE READING (1 JOHN 4:7-10)

GOD IS LOVE.

My dear people,
let us love one another
since love comes from God
and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Anyone who fails to love can never have known God,
because God is love.

God’s love for us was revealed
when God sent into the world his only Son
so that we could have life through him;
this is the love I mean:
not our love for God,
but God’s love for us when he sent his Son
to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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