Lay up treasures in heaven. One treasure is not enough for the pleasure of this divine, lover, but he desires that we should have so much treasure that our treasure may be composed of many treasures; that is to say, Theotimus, that we are to have an insatiable desire of loving God, adding continually love upon love. What is it that so strongly urges the bees to increase their honey but the love they bear to it? O heart of my soul, created to love the infinite good, what love canst thou desire but this love, which is the most to be desired of all loves! Ah! O soul of my heart, what desire canst thou love but the most lovely of all desires! O love of sacred desires! O desires of sacred love! Oh! how have I coveted to long for thy perfections.
The disgusted sick man has no appetite for eating, yet has he an appetite to have an appetite; he desires no meat, but he desires to desire it. Theotimus, to know whether we love God above all things is not in our power, unless God himself reveal it unto us: yet we may easily know whether we desire to love him; and perceiving the desire of holy love in us, we know that we begin to love. It is our sensual and animal part which covets to eat, but it is our reasonable part which desires this appetite; and because the sensual part does not always obey the reasonable part, it frequently happens that we desire appetite and cannot have it. But the desire of loving and love depend upon the same will: wherefore as soon as we have framed the true desire of loving, we begin to have some love; and ever as this desire grows, love also increases. He who desires love ardently shall shortly love with ardour. Ah! who will give us the grace, Theotimus, that we may burn with this desire, which is the desire of the poor, and the preparation of their heart, which God willingly hears. He who has no assurance of loving God is a poor man, and if he desire to love him he is a beggar, but a beggar with the blessed beggary of which Our Saviour has said: Blessed are the beggars of spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Such a one was S. Augustine, when he cried out: |O to love! O to run! O to die to self! O to get to God!| Such S. Francis, saying: |Let me die of thy love, O thou friend of my heart, who hast deigned to die for my love.| Such S. Catharine of Genoa, and the Blessed Mother (S.) Teresa when, panting as the hart pants, and dying with the thirst of divine love, they sighed out this word: Ah Lord! give me this water.
Temporal covetousness, by which we greedily desire earthly treasures, is the root of all evil; but spiritual avarice, whereby one sighs incessantly after the pure gold of Divine love, is the root of all good. He who truly desires love seeks it truly; and he who truly seeks it, truly finds it; and he who has truly found it has found the fountain of life, whence he shall draw salvation from the Lord. Let us cry, night and day, Theotimus: Come, O Holy Spirit! fill the hearts of thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of thy love. O heavenly love, when wilt thou fill my soul?