St-Gregory-the-DialogistIf anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him (John 14:23)

This is the day whereon “suddenly there came a sound from heaven”, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, and, instead of fleshly minds, gave them minds wherein the love of God was shed abroad.

On the exterior “there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them”. On the interior “their hearts were enkindled”.

While they received the visible presence of God in the form of fire, the flames of His love enwrapped them.

The Holy Spirit Himself is love whence it is that John says “God is love”.

Whosoever therefore loves God with all his soul, has already obtained Him whom he loves.

For no one is able to love God if he has not gained Him whom he loves.

If I shall ask any one of you whether he loves God, he will answer with all boldness and quietness of spirit “I do love Him”.

But at the very beginning of this day’s Lesson from the Gospel, you have heard what the Truth says: “if anyone love me, he will keep my word”.

The test, then, of love, is whether it is showed by works. Hence the same John says in his Epistle “if anyone says ‘I love God’, and does not keep His commandments, he is a liar”.

Then do we indeed love God, and keep His commandments, if we deny ourselves the gratification of our appetites.

Whosoever still wanders after unlawful desires, such a one plainly does not love God, for he says “no” to that which God wills.

“And my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.

O my dearly beloved brethren, think what a dignity is that, to have God abiding as a guest in our heart.

Surely if some rich man or some powerful friend were to come into our house, we would hasten to have our whole house cleaned, lest, perchance, when he came in, he should see anything to displease his eye.

So let him that would make his mind an abode for God, cleanse it from all the filth of works of iniquity.

Again, the Truth says “we will come to him, and will make our abode with him”.

There are some hearts whereunto God comes, but does not make His abode therein.

With a certain pricking they feel His presence, but in time of temptation they forget that which hath pricked them, and so they turn again to work unrighteousness, even as though they had never repented.

Gregory the Great (c.540-604): Homilies on the Gospels, 30, from Mattins of Pentecost Sunday in the Old Breviary.

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