Emmitsburg Council of Churches

The Litany of Love of God
 God is within us

Father John J. Lombardi

That is, He dwells interiorly-in souls in a state of Grace, and this is called the Indwelling Trinity (our Catholic Faith's best kept secret). A recent book "The God Gene" expresses this-kinda. The author Dean Hamer, a geneticist, says there is within us humans, an inherent, biological drive toward spirituality and a Supreme Being. We are, really, "hard wired" for self transcendence (selflessness-like Jesus in His Passion), and naturally disposed toward the supernatural. Contra materialists and secularists, this God-gene man says, we have an "inherited predisposition" for mystical consciousness. He writes: "This God gene' codes for a monoamine transporter-a protein that controls the amount of crucial brain signaling chemicals…the gene is important because it points out the mechanism by which spirituality is manifested in the brain." Posed another ways Hamer says that DNA is an enabler of answering life's questions with religious answers. In his book, he discusses consciousness, mystical states and selflessness. Though not a Catholic he can help us Catholics, especially.

This Holy Week is a good time to meditate. Jesus-the-Christ was in a continuous mystical state-Union with God-the-Trinity: He was the God-Man, theandric. Christ was the most selfless Being ever: Look at a Crucifix--- often this week-and dis-cover True Life (i.e., the essence of Our Religion and the Mass): Sacrifice, Love, and Blood. Lastly, the Fugitive-Prince-King-of-Kings, Jesus, manifested and demonstrated a predisposition-to God-the Father, to His Mission, to His lost sheep-us. Let's allow the "triggers of the Trinity" in this Holy Week fire our God-gene transmitters and monoamines to enrapture not only our minds but also our hearts to heroically follow the Lord-the Ultimate Transformer into His Passion, Death and Resurrection. These Holy Week-external-recapitulating events can amalgamate us to the Originals-Christ's Life-and transforms our consciousness and awareness of God and others. Some people thrill in the emotion of theater, others tremble for TV and some crave concerts. We Catholics, however, adulate in Theo-drama-the activating, by supernatural sensation and sacred presentation of rituals, the stimulating of our God-gene-impulses into Passion and Union. Can you think of anything more important, any week more Holy? Thru Holy Thursday -His Last Supper and Gift of the Holy Eucharist, Good Friday--the Lord's Death for us sinners, and Easter Sunday-His triumph over death, sin and hell, all these events can be "triggers" for our spiritual sonar to seek, embrace and find God. One way is the magnificent "Litany of the Love of God." It is a series of prayerful phrases which we can meditate upon to cultivate and trigger our God-given gene and gauge-the soul-for Union with God, which is our ultimate happiness and goal. The Litany (only partially re-presented below) is in italics and this Chaplain's meditations following…

Lord have Mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord hear us, Christ graciously hear us…With all my heart: (R): I Love Thee, O my God: -Do you inflame your heart's-supernatural desire by an intuitional spiritual life, or are you robotic, steely-cold toward Him and spirituality? St Phillip Neri-joyful and juggling saint of Rome was found, at death, because of his devotions, love of the Mass and the mystical life, with an expanded rib and chest cage because, it seems, his heart grew bigger with age... Grow your heart like Phillip the way God genetically programmed you-with free will-- in love of, and devotion to, God. Pray and memorize the Ultimate Theo-Drama- the Stations of the Cross.

With all my soul (R: I love Thee, o my God): Your soul has at least three powers. The memory is the "mental dynamic folder" which stores and culls up images and events. What are you storing up in your memory-lust and envy or holiness and beauty? The mental faculty of the intellect enables thinking and reasoning. Okay, do you use your mind and brain power to think of God and a saintly life-do you maximize the hardwiring God gives you? The dynamic dimension of the will is your "choosing and wanting power". Is God and a perfected spiritual life your Ultimate desire? Are you choosing this in daily life? St John of the Cross, known as the Mystical Doctor, beautifully and boldly investigated these same powers and suggested that God-and each of us-must perfect and purify them for their holy-intended use. Our "spiritual hard wiring" can get messed up-by the Seven Deadly Sins, additions and inordinate attachments-but thru God's Merciful and Purifying Love these, The Spiritual Pulsation can be transformed into God-channeling transporters. Anamnesis-what we do at Mass and in spiritual practices. This time of Year-- means dynamic memory-re-collecting Sacred Events with our soul's divine drive to be freed, thankful and helpful to others. Remember-you are a supernatural creature-made for the Divine.

With all my mind(R…) -God gave you a mind to use to discover Him and His ways. Do you enhance this God-given gift? St Thomas Aquinas-"Angelic Doctor"-is known as one of the greatest minds ever, because, with humility he trained his mind to seek, find and embrace God in nature, in his own body and soul, in culture and, most of all, thru the Bible, Mass, contemplation and Salvation History. Do you? How will you study the spiritual moral and mystical teachings of The Holy Bible, of the Holy Catholic Church, and saints writings.

With all my strength: Mother Seton overcame, with gritty strength, the deaths of her husband and two children, persecutions to her conversion to the Catholic Faith, and the struggles of founding a religious order (Daughters of Charity). In other words tons of trials and challenges, but she still forged on by cultivating that inherent predisposition for God-thru-fortitude, to become a saint. You will encounter tribulations, so cultivate the virtue of Fortitude-stick-to-it-ness, 'get-back-uppity-ness to strongly love God and your neighbor.

Above all possessions and honors: little should the praise of others or the possessions we seek fancy us-no, God should allure us more. Avoid Mamon-matieralism and desire for human respect to Love Him, the Lord. St Thomas More, married man and Chancellor of England was cajoled by King Henry the Eighth to grant him an illicit divorce. Thomas loved God more, so he refused the religious rascal who forgot or repressed the DNA-dynamic of obedience in supernatural matters (like others today, unfortunately). The king threw Thomas into a prison and threatened him with death. Thomas More refused vainglory and the King's attempts at seducing by honors and manipulating blackmail and said, right before his martyrdom, "I am the good King's servant, but God's first." Is God first in your life, or passing possessions and honors?

More than all pleasures and enjoyments: we are sensate creatures and seek thrills and bodily cravings-sexuality, TV, food, recreation, people… Do you love sin more than God?

More than anything created in heaven or on Earth: Heaven is a creation-just about God's, but it is not Himself, God. Earth, likewise. It shall all pass away (*cf. Rev. ). Only God is God. Read that profound, simple statement again. Him-God alone, the Blessed, Most adorable Trinity, is Whom we should seek-everything else is spiritual icing on the cake-and that's the way He wants and orders it. Everything not God is a creation, and therefore capable of idolatry .We've all been guilty in this regard. Remember Wisd 13:3 "Now if out of joy in their beauty they, seekers, thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these, for the original source of beauty fashioned them" …More than myself or anything belonging to me: We overvalue self-esteem, self love and self seeking. These are seeming gods today. The self only produces more unhappiness. Instead, Jesus counsels us "If anyone wants to be my follower he must deny himself, pick up his cross and come after me" (Lk. 9:23). St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said that pilgrims may face one of two directions: towards the self which will produce sorrow, or towards God which will bring joy. Look to Him and He will reveal you-your "true you", your soul-to yourself. …More than all men and angels: many people worship-yes, adulate-other people--not just movie stars and millionaires, but a myriad of other people-types, too. And yet the First Commandment expressly forbids this, counseling us to worship God alone.

Do you worship God alone? St Margaret of Corona left home, met a guy and lived with him, illicitly married him and then birthed a child. He died. She was left with nothing. She went to the Franciscans and they housed her and she became a penitent and mystic-type thru prayer, repentance and charity. She attracted many followers and led hundreds to God by abandoning human pleasures and crass cravings. Will you?...Only for Thyself: this seems so simple, but is supremely difficult. We should love God because, well, God is God! He is the perfect Supreme Being, the Lord of all, our Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer. We should love Him not only for anything He has done for us, or given to us, but, simply, because He is God. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity did this. She harnessed the sacred desire planted within her: "O my God Trinity Whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely so to establish myself in You."…Because Thou art infinitely perfect: there are many attractive, holy, excelling human beings but who is perfect?

God alone is. Meditate upon His Divine Perfections-through a Trinity of Persons, Father Son and Holy Sprit, He is still, utterly one and unified in His Divine Essence. Truth: God is the source of all Truth-whatever is true comes from Him. Good: No one is good but God alone-we merely participate in, receive from Him goodness. Beauty: Because of His uncreated light, harmony and Being here is no imperfection or flaws in God-He can be utterly trusted for anything…Because thou are Infinitely worthy of Being loved: only God is endlessly loveable. Humans are attractive and alluring, yes, but not ceaselessly-we get bored easily when we find nothing else to love. God Himself is infinitely desirable because He is, well, infinite. Even in Heaven-if we make it, we will not love Him totally. Think: there is always more in God to love and I should try to do so. Like the saints while on earth if I perfect this I will be able to proportionately love Him more in Heaven-so don't' give up-ever! More than all my friends and relatives: Who's your best friend? Well, good. But, do you have a Divine, Best Friend? -The Good Shepherd of your soul, Jesus; the Holy Sprit, the Heavenly Father?

We communicate with friends and relatives thru internet, email, cell phones and old fashioned letters-almost ceaselessly these days, but do you ceaselessly communicate and commune with God? Just think, even while sick with a throat-tracheotomy and Parkinson's disease, Pope John Paul was communicating with God-offering up his suffering and finding God in it: He said, "Each moment of pain can be a Divine manifestation of grace."…Even it you not promised me Heaven: We live in a meritocracy-based upon rewards, hard work, report cards and individualistic effort? Many love God because they want to go to heaven. Should we act and believe this way? Well, that's one, imperfect answer. The better one is that we should love God for Himself (see above) and without any hint of reward. The Israelites in the desert after their Egyptian slavery kept seeking more and more rewards and pleasures (they really represent us); they even made a golden calf-god to seemingly delight their needs. But God was only seeking love and worship. How are you like the Israelites-or like the saints-loving God no matter what. Heaven is endless Paradise, Blissful Union with God- but seek St Catherine of Siena says: "All the Way to Heaven is Heaven because Jesus said I am the way." …Even if You had not menaced me with Hell: this is the opposite of the above.

We may seek God and Heaven because we don't want punishments-this is called imperfect contrition. Perfect contrition is seeking God and repentance precisely because God is God and He commands certain things, and I should follow. The Children of Fatima (1917 Portugal), encountering the Blessed Virgin, were granted a vision of Hell and saw many, many souls languishing there. Yes, we should be scared but, before the spiritual scariness we should love God first because it is our spiritual disposition, not in fearful reactionary response to evils….Even should thou try me by want and misfortune: When we encounter hardships-sickness, job or family difficulties, and frantic friends--we should never blame God, become lukewarm or cranky. St Joseph Benedict Labre tried to enter a lot of religious orders and failed; he also became very poor; had a difficult disposition, and he wandered all over Europe. His friends at death? Cats and the poor of Rome where he lived in the Coliseum. He turned all his troubles to the Lord and Virgin and led an exemplary life overcoming trials to triumph thru amalgamating these to Jesus and His Cross. He was tried and found holy. …In sickness and health: St Therese was sick with tuberculosis much of her life. Yet she used these sufferings to spiritually glue herself to God. Thru her prayer, daily mass, the Rosary and other spiritual disciplines she may have wavered but never wandered from the Lord who created her-she found in the crosses God gave or allowed her opportunities for spiritual Christ-likeness

In wealth and poverty: St Francis of Assisi had both. He realized, though, that loving God was not found in possessions but, rather, when he turned his own will in complete surrender to love God and serve the poor. Will you abandon all for the All like Francis and love God no matter what?...In life and death: is there life before death? Depends on whether you love God like the saints and actualize this Litany. Perfect it. When tried by death-as we all will be-will you love God? St Augustine said death should not be feared and that he who fears death does not lo God perfectly. St Therese said to her mom and dad, I hope you die. They wondered why. She answered so you can go to heaven. Do you have that attitude?...In union with that love wherewith all the saints love The in Heaven: The saints loved God heroically on earth and now they love Him perfectly in Heaven.

We may participate in that perfect love by joining the Mystical Communion of saints, by praying Litanies; recalling and imitating their virtues; and asking for their favors and inter-communing love, accessible thru prayer…In union with that love wherewith the Blessed Virgin Mary loves thee in Heaven: The Virgin loved God erecetly on earth and now loves Him as much in Heaven. Pray the Rosary, cultivate devotion to her-she is our most perfect intercessor…In union with that infinite Love wherewith Thou lovest Thyself in Heaven: The Three Divine Persons are in constant, total, blissful, ecstatic and holy love for One Another. We can assimilative into that incredible Love by meditating upon perochroeiss-the mutual inter-dwelling of the Father Son and Holy Sprit. Don't you admire couples and people who love one another freely, perfectly, endlessly-these are partial hints of Divine Love. So, now, send your spiritual sonar and godly genetic gene implant of sacred desire to higher realities and things and want this, seek this bliss, embrace it, however partially in this world

Now: Some tips: fake it till you make it- this means say the phrases even though you have not mastered them (who is-the saints were sinners); but plant the idea within your head and soul so you can reach up to it. Memorize the Litany: take it wherever you go.

Expand your heart, mind, soul and strength, and meditate upon this Litany frequently especially Holy Week. To meditate means: Within, think about, love Him. Do this daily and you will become saintly.

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi