Let me tell you about Saint Bernard. He preached to the military of his day and got them marching on the second Crusade and was connected to the Knights Templar. Regardless of what you believe about the Crusades and Knights you have to realize that Saint Bernard understood the devotion that a military man has for God.
In On Loving God Bernard describes levels of love for God. Saint Bernard preaches a Gospel of love that puts Christian devotion in the context of God’s love for mankind even if you are training for war. Bernard explains the process and defines progress on how and why God should be loved. I will touch on a few points and recommend reading the free online book, On loving God.On loving God
Bernard defines God’s claim on mankind and what is to be gained by loving God. Is it more stuff, protection? Hold that thought.
Nothing is more reasonable and nothing is more profitable than knowing and loving God. God earned the right for us to love Him as Christ died for us while we were enemies. God gave His only Son. No greater love can be shown than to lay down your life for a friend. God earned the right for us to love Him.
The answer to loving God and what is gained to loving God is God. God.
Man is made in the image of God and needs to embrace that. The first Commandment says to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and body but man is weak so his first experience of love is for self. Love is what makes us different than the animals. Man loves himself first. It is because nature and his flesh require it. God does not leave man in nature but raises him up with virtue.
God made us and all of creation. We belong to Him. In spite of creation speaking of God’s virtue and how God made us in His image, the imagination of man is prone to do evil. Man chooses to love himself instead of God but God chooses to love us with His whole being. We should respond back and lean our mind, feelings and imagination into the love of God and meditate on love. Leaning into his arms in prayer, meditation, willful obedience and study of the Holy Bible helps define God as altogether lovely and will help us love each other.
Man loves himself according to nature. In order to fully love a neighbor man needs to fully love God. Learning to rely on God’s love will help man realize that in God man can do all things. This degree of love is to love God because of who God is. This requires true intentions to know and be loved by God.
The Lord rewards those who seek Him and seek Him. The Lord likes us to seek Him so He can be found as the object of our desire. Man seeks God and God is found to be loving and merciful.
Choosing to let God’s love flow through you can be life changing. God can show His ability to love through us when we make ourselves available.
Prayer and meditation should never be avoided because of self-judgment. It is God who qualifies us for love and not our self.
True intentions are important. Deciding to experience love and to share love can be enhanced simple by choosing to love. Examples of love in action can be found in the New Testament Gospels. What ever you see Jesus doing is what God would have done for you. What ever you hear Jesus saying is what God would say to you today. By reading the words of Jesus we can better understand God’s love and compare that to our actions. We will see His goodness. In spite of our weakness and inability we can choose to let God’s love work through us and when we do we act like children of love.
You need a Chaplain.
Chaplain, Joseph A.