The Jesuit Father Francis Cassilly writes: “Each individual person is a special creation, in whose behalf God seems to tax His infinite resources of love and power, and with whom he wishes to enter into a compact of eternal friendship. But friendship is not one-sided, it is a mutual donation and has reciprocal obligations and duties. Nor is love all words or honeyed sweetness. Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord,’ can enter into the heavenly kingdom. Deeds are the true test of friendship.”

“Supernatural love is not something emotional; in fact, it is not in the feelings at all. It is an act of the will, seeking God for Himself, for His own sake, and not for any personal emolument of one’s own, not for spiritual sweetness, joy, nor consolation. Desire accompanies love necessarily, and pleasure and delight follow possession. So the soul which loves God must desire Him, and once it possesses Him it will rest in Him as its final felicity and beatitude. The possession we have in this life is by grace, and hence is not complete, and our enjoyment of Him here is in keeping with our possession, being only in part and inchoative compared with what it will be in heavenly bliss. But the spiritual delights sometimes given to Christians even on earth, are so sweet and alluring that spiritual writers are forced to put us on our guard against them.”

“They warn us that neither consolation nor spiritual sweetness is love, but only its effect; and that he who strives after them for their own sake, is but seeking self, is indulging in sentimentality, and sentimentality is not charity, it is not even a good counterfeit of it. Many servants of God persevered long years in aridity of soul, deprived of sensible consolation. Prayer was distasteful to them, the fountain of devotion within them was sealed. But what these holy persons lacked in sensible devotion was made up to them in purely spiritual favors; and within the depths of their being they possessed a calm, unalterable peace, that enabled them to rise superior to the fluctuations of sense.”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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