Training our Appetites by Tasting

“The Third Degree of Love: Love of God for God’s Sake”On Loving God

In the first degree of love we love ourselves for our own sake. In the second degree of love we love God for our own sake, chiefly because he has provided for us and rescued us. But if trials and tribulations continue to come upon us, every time God brings us through, even if our hearts were made of stone, we will begin to be softened because of the grace of the Rescuer. Thus, we begin to love God not merely for our own sakes, but for himself.

In order to arrive at this we must continually go to God with our needs and pray. In those prayers the grace of God is tasted, and by frequent tasting it is proved to us how sweet the Lord is. Thus it happens that once God’s sweetness has been tasted, it draws us to the pure love of God more than our needs compel us to love him. Thus we begin to say, “We now love God, not for our necessity, for we ourselves have tasted and know how sweet the Lord is.”

~ from On the Love of God, by Bernard of Clairvaux

in Devotional Classics: Selected Readings,

ed. Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith