It means to be willing to lose all things, even life itself rather than displease him by sin. Our love for an object must be in proportion to its value. The more valuable a thing is, the more we ought to praise and love it. If an object is of immense value, our love for it should also be immense.
Now God is an infinite good. Whatever good is found in created things, is found in him in an infinite degree. All creatures, however great and excellent they may be, are as nothing compared with God. Whatever good they possess, is entirely from God. Our love for God, therefore, must be greater than the love we bear to any thing else. We must love God above all things, that is we must love him more than all our wealth. All the goods of this world are perishable. God alone is unchangeable and immortal. The rich man in the Gospel loved his wealth more than God. Consequently he died in sin, and was buried in hell. We must love God more than our parents, more than any one in the world. "He that loveth father or mother more than me," says our Lord, "is not worthy of me. And he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me." (Matt, x, 37.)
There is a young woman. She is not a Catholic. She is, however, convinced of the truth of the Catholic religion. She knows that she cannot be saved unless she be comes a practical Catholic. Her parents are wealthy. They are bitter enemies of the Catholic Church. She knows that, if she becomes a Catholic, she will be disinherited, and even expelled from her home. Now, if she wishes to be saved, her love for God must surpass the love she bears to her parents, to her home, and to all
earthly enjoyments. She must, as she hopes for heaven, embrace the true faith, no matter what may be the consequences.
There is a mother of a family. She has an amiable and affectionate daughter to whom she is greatly attached. Her daughter is called by Almighty God to leave the world and serve him in religion. Now, this mother must love God more than her daughter. She must be willing to give up her daughter and suffer her to follow her vocation. We must love God, more than ourselves, more than our very lives. We must be willing even to suffer death rather than renounce Jesus Christ or deny a single article of our holy faith. Now, it is not necessary that we should feel this love of preference for God ; for such love is not a matter of feeling. Neither is this love a mere act of the understanding by which we know that God is the sovereign good, worthy of all our love. No one, who is in his right senses and believes in God, can doubt that the sovereign good is worthy of all our love. This love of preference lies in the will which deliberately chooses God in preference to all things, and is determined to sacrifice every thing rather than offend him grievously.
A certain person once heard a sermon on the love of God. Amongst other things, she heard the priest say that we must love God more than every thing else, more than our parents, more than our dearest friends. After the sermon, she went to confession and accused herself of being guilty of not loving God more than her parents; "for," said she, "whatever pleases my parents, also pleases me, and whatever displeases them, displeases me also. I feel that I love them most tenderly, and nothing gives me more pain than to see them in trouble. Now, I do not feel thus towards God. It seems to me I am quite cold and indifferent towards him." The priest said : "Tell me ; would you commit a mortal sin in order to please your parents?" "Oh, no! Father," answered the penitent; "I would rather die than commit a mortal sin." "Then be quite easy," said the priest, "for you love God more than your parents."; Indeed, we may feel more intense love for our parents than for God, and yet not sin against charity ; for, as long as we are ready even to give them up, were God to require this of us, we would not really prefer them to him. should feel this love of preference for God ; for such love is not a matter of feeling. Neither is this love a mere act of the understanding by which we know that God is the sovereign good, worthy of all our love. No one, who is in his right senses and believes in God, can doubt that the sovereign good is worthy of all our love. This love of preference lies in the will which deliberately chooses God in preference to all things, and is determined to sacrifice every thing rather than offend him grievously.
To be continued . . . . . . . . .