St Augustine of AfricaAnd this is the commandment of God, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and that we love one another.

[…] Nothing else is enjoined on us except the love of one another – whoever carries out his command­ment abides in God, and God in him.

And we can tell that we are dwelling in him by the Spirit he has given us. Is it not clear that it is the work of the Spirit to implant love and charity in human hearts?

Is it not clear that, in the words of the Apostle Paul, the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us?

[…] If our heart does not reproach us means: if our heart bears witness that love of our brothers is the source of any good work we do.

[…] Whoever carries out his commandment abides in God and God in him. And we can tell that we are dwelling in him by the Spirit he has given us.

If you find charity in yourself, you have the Spirit of God to give you understanding, a thing most necessary.

How can we know whether or not we have received the Holy Spirit? Let each one question his own heart.

If he loves his brothers then the Spirit of God dwells in him. Let him examine and test himself in God’s sight, to discover whether he harbours in his heart a love of peace and unity, a love of the Church as it extends throughout the length and breadth of the world.

Let him not look for love only of the brother who is present, for we have many whom we do not see, but with whom we are united in the Spirit.

There is nothing strange in that. They are not all here with us, but we all belong to the one Body and have a single Head in heaven.

So then, if you would know whether you have received the Spirit, ask your own heart: do you perhaps have the outward sign of the sacrament without the virtue of the sacrament?

Ask your heart: if the love of your brothers is there, you can be at peace.

There can be no love without the Holy Spirit, for Paul cries out to us: The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit he has given us.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): On 1 John 6, 9-10 (SC 75:296-300),  from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Sunday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Year 1.

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