St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s Tips on Love

1. The best way to love… is to love.

Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love.”

  • Love’s profit lies in its practice. Just as the best way to learn to play the guitar is to actually play the guitar, so the best way to learn to love is to actually love.

2. Study for the sake of love.

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.

  • Always keep in mind that the greatest purpose to studying and seeking knowledge is to love, to serve others. Write down or keep in mind who you are studying this topic for. And it is for the sake of loving them.

3. Be grateful in order to keep loving.

Ingratitude is the soul’s enemy… Ingratitude is a burning wind that dries up the source of love, the dew of mercy, the streams of grace.

4. Our ability to love has one source = God’s love.

Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it.  Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the soul purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.

5. Strive for the highest degree of love.

The measure of love is love without measure.

There are four degrees of love: 1) Love of self for self’s sake. 2) Love of God for self’s sake. 3) Love of God for God’s own sake. 4) Love of self for God’s sake.

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and perfected marriage consists.

 

 

 

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