Thought for the Day – 3 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Religion and Devotion
“Religion, should not be a cold, mehcanical practice of obedience to the commandments of God and the precepts of the Church.
Deep spiritual devotion and supernatural charity are necessary, as well as religion.
In other words, religion should not be merely external but, should spring from the mind and heart, this is devotion, which is the spirit of religion.
“Devotion,” wites Aquinas, “seems to be the determination to give one’s self readily to the service of God” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 82, a 2, ad 1).
But this determination should be loving and effective because, as St Thomas also observes, “charity generates devotion” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 82, a 2, ad 2).
St Francis de Sales analysed and expanded these ideas.
“True and living devotion,” he writes, “presupposes the love of God – indeed, it really is a true love of God… but a love… which has reached that height of perfection at which it not only causes us to act but, to act zealously, frequently and promptly…” (Introduction to the Devout Life, Bk I, C 1).
He continues: “Since devotion consists in an unique degree of charity, it not only makes us prompt, active and zealous in the observance of all the divine commands but, incites us, furthermore, to perform readily and lovingly, as many good works as we can… even if they are only recommended or suggested” (Ibid).
From this solid and sincere devotion flows, that taste for divine things, that inner gentleness and peace of spirit which the Saints enjoyed, even in the midst of sorrow and disillusionment.
It is the spontaneous homage of the mind and heart, that God wants most of all.”