“Love is all we need to make everything complete,” says Mary J. Blige in her 1997 song featuring Nas. The singer was stating a fact that goes beyond what many people believe about love. Love is not what you think or feel. Love is not just a noun but a functional verb. Love, therefore, is what you do, not what you say, talk is cheap. Love is not.
Interestingly, our Lord Jesus Christ started the introduction to the Holy Spirit with the concept of love. So, we could ask: “what is the connection between the Holy Spirit and the phenomenon of love?” Let us look at part of what our Lord says in the Gospel of John (14:15-21).
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept because it neither sees nor knows him.
In English grammar, the word “if” often begins a conditional clause that shows the pre-condition that would bring about the content of the independent clause. In this case, our Lord is saying that our love for him should move us to keep his commandments.
What are the commandments from the perspective of our Lord Jesus Christ? The Gospel of Matthew (22:34-40) tells us about a lawyer who wanted our Lord Jesus Christ to identify the greatest of all the commandments. Our Lord surprisingly answered using the virtue of love. Thus, he says the first commandment is to love God with all of one’s heart, soul, and mind, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. He concluded by saying that all the laws and prophets depend on these two commandments.
Going back to that passage, we understand that our Lord was saying if you love me, you will love God with all your hearts, soul, and mind, and you will also love your neighbor as yourself. The practical aspect of love moves us to make God super happy by avoiding sin. With our neighbors, we learn to give and forgive in the manner of God.
The fulfillment of the demands of love would take us to the next level; that is asking the Father to snd another advocate to be with us always. The second advocate here is the Holy Spirit who helps us here on earth just as much as we know that the first is Jesus Christ himself who pleads for us before the Father in heaven (1 John 2:1).
At this point, it becomes clear to us that love is the key to our relationship with God, including the reception of the Holy Spirit. Love is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Galatian 5:22). In his letter to the Romans (5:5), St. Paul tells us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
The Gospel narrative is challenging us to reach out and hold on to the key of love. Remember that the apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary were at the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Let us remember that the Upper Room had a door and a lock, and the lock had a key. The key is love, and the door leads to obedience to the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, which precedes the active impartation of the Holy Spirit.
We need to give this God-driven love a chance in our lives. Without love, we lose, and we could get lost. Our Lord also assures us in the narrative today that whoever loves him will be loved by his Father, and he will love the person and reveal himself to the individual. May the Spirit of God fill our hearts and kindle in us the fire of God’s love. Love is all we need to receive the Holy Spirit in our souls as we prepare for that encounter in the weeks ahead!
God bless you and have a beautiful day.