Monday, 15 March 2010

The Four degrees of love

At Diocesan synod Bishop Stephen reminded us of the four degrees of love:

Love of self for self's sake - pretty worldly
Love of God for God's sake - still pretty selfish
Love of God for God's sake - most nauseating
Love of self for God's sake - coming to an acceptance of self in  the heart of God.

I fond this helpful - must say I often find people in stage three nauseating too.. but there is a route through to a more whole way of being..

The first degree is when we love ourselves for our own sake. Unspiritual and worldly that we are, nothing interests us except things that relate to ourselves.
The second degree is when we begin to see that we cannot get along by ourselves; so we begin to seek God's help for our own sakes. We love God, but only for our own interest.
After meditating, reading, praying, and obeying much, we come to gradually know God through actual experience. By tasting how sweet the Lord is, we begin to love God, not for our own sake, but for Himself. This is the third.
The fourth, I think, is extremely rare here on earth. This is when, in our love for God, we forget ourselves, attaining one mind and one heart with God.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux

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