12 March 2013

Love is Repaid by Love Alone

My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled you will not spurn. (Psalm 51:19)
The Miserere, a magnificent penitential song from the heart, could be considered the psalm for the Lenten season.

In this psalm, the Holy Spirit illuminates our situation: it is not the sacrifice that pleases God, but the love behind the sacrifice. As St. John Fisher notes, "It was not Christ's great suffering itself that pleased the Father, but the love with which He did it."

In our case, true penitential love is manifested by a humbled and contrite heart. In today's first reading, the prophet Hosea prepares us for this truth: For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

May the sacrifices, alms-giving, and fasting of Lent be inspired by our love for God, the God who first loved us. As St. John of the Cross puts it, "Love is repaid by love alone."

Lawrence Martone, OCDS

Sr. Mary Roberta Viano, VHM

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