Love is the foundation of devotion to the Holy Spirit, as it is also the foundation of Christian perfection. But love as a reflection of God, as His own image, is something that encloses within its simplicity a boundless wealth and a variety of forms. Who can fathom the depths of love?
Human love in all its manifestations is admirably in harmony with the love of charity; it is confident in filial love, trusting in friendship, sweet and fruitful in the love of husband and wife, disinterested and tender in the love of a mother. Our love of God must include all these forms of human love; every fiber of our heart must vibrate when the harmonious and full canticle of love bursts forth from it. But since God is one in essence and triune in Persons, our love for Him takes on a particular aspect accordingly as it is directed to each one of the divine Persons.
Our love for the Father is tender and confident like that of children — eager to glorify Him as His only-begotten Son taught us to do by word and example. Love for the Father is the intense desire to have His will fulfilled on earth as it is in Heaven.
Our love for the Son, who willed to become flesh for us, is characterized by the tendency to union with Him and transformation into Him; by imitation of His example, participation in His life, and the sharing of His sufferings and His Cross. The Eucharist — the mystery of love, of sorrow, and of union — reveals the characteristics of this love.
Love for the Holy Spirit also has its special character, which we should study in order completely to understand devotion to Him. We have explained how the Holy Spirit loves us, how He moves us like a divine breath that draws us to the bosom of God, like a sacred fire that transforms us into fire, like a divine artist who forms Jesus in us. Surely, then, our love for the Holy Spirit should be marked by loving docility, by full surrender, and by a constant fidelity that permits us to be moved, directed, and transformed by His sanctifying action.
Our love for the Father tends to glorify Him; our love for the Son, to transform ourselves into Him; our love for the Holy Spirit, to let ourselves be possessed and moved by Him.
In order to attain this holy docility to the motions of the Spirit, the soul must be so silent and recollected that it can hear His voice; so pure and so filled with light that it can clearly perceive the meaning of the divine inspiration; so surrendered to the will of God that it embraces that will without hesitation; and so selfless that it performs that will without stopping at any sacrifice. Love accomplishes all this alone, or through the virtues and gifts that it coordinates and directs; for love, as St. Paul teaches, “believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”93
Love brings recollection and silence to the soul. Whosoever loves distinguishes among thousands of voices the voice of the beloved. Does not a mother know the voice of her child among all other sounds? Does she not hear him even when she is asleep? Love causes silence because it brings solitude and recollection, because it concentrates all its activity and desire on the beloved. The Holy Spirit frequently speaks to souls, breathes upon them, and inspires them. But they do not hear Him except in the measure of their love for Him, in the proportion in which love has anointed them with silence. Closely united with the Holy Spirit through love, souls feel the secret palpitation of the heart of God.