St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Dekaena to the Holy Spirit
Love is a Fire That Inflames the Heart
GOD HAD ORDERED, in the ancient law, that there should be a fire kept continually burning on His altar: "The fire on the altar shall always burn" (Lev. 6:12). Gregory says that the altars of God are our hearts, where he desires that the fire of His divine love should always be burning; and therefore the eternal Father, not satisfied with having given us His Son Jesus Christ to save us by His death, would also give us the Holy Spirit, that He might dwell in our souls and keep them constantly on fire with love.
And Jesus Himself declared that He had come into the world on purpose to inflame our hearts with this holy fire, and that He desired nothing more than to see it kindled: "I am come to cast fire on the earth: and what will I, but that it be kindled?" (Luke 12:49). Forgetting, therefore, the injuries and ingratitude he received from men on this earth, when He had ascended into heaven He sent down upon us the Holy Spirit.
Oh, most loving Redeemer, Thou dost, then, love us as well in Thy sufferings and ignominies as in Thy kingdom of glory! This is why the Holy Spirit chose to appear in the upper room under the form of tongues of fire: "And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire" "May the Holy Spirit, we beseech Thee, O Lord, inflame us with that fire which our Jesus Christ came to cast upon the earth, and which He ardently desired should be enkindled."
This was the holy fire which has inflamed the saints to do such great things for God, to love their enemies, to desire contempt, to deprive themselves of all earthly goods, and to embrace with delight even torments and death. Love cannot remain idle and never says, "This is enough." The soul that loves God, the more she does for her beloved the more she desires to do, in order to please Him and to attract to herself His affections. This holy fire is enkindled by mental prayer. If, therefore, we desire to burn with love for God, let us love prayer; that is the blessed furnace in which this divine ardor is enkindled.
Affections and Prayers
O my God, up to now I have done nothing for Thee Who hast done so much for me. My coldness could well make Thee cast me away from Thee. But, O Holy Spirit, make warm what is cold. Deliver me from my lack of fervor and make me burn with the desire to please Thee. I now wish to deny all that pleases me. I would rather die than displease Thee in the Least thing. To Thee Who has appeared in the form of fiery tongues, I consecrate my tongue that it may not offend Thee again. Thou didst give it to me to praise Thee, but I, I have used it to injure Thee and cause others to offend Thee. I am sorry for my sins. For the love of Jesus Christ Who honored Thee so much by His tongue when He walked this earth, grant that henceforward I may honor Thee by praising Thee, by asking often for Thy help and by speaking of Thy goodness and the infinite love Thou deservest.
I love Thee, my supreme God, I love Thee, O loving God.
O Mary, most beloved Spouse of the Holy Spirit, obtain for me this holy fire.