O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
On the verge of the Lenten season, the last part of the Collect Prayer for Quinquagesima is helpful. We ask for God’s help with loving with the love of Jesus Christ. We cannot muster up this ability in our power. It is impossible. Our default is love of self, not love of God and others. We need the grace of love and must pray for it through all our moments. It is as we pray in this prayer the work of the Holy Spirit to “pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love.” This love of God is the bond of “peace and of all virtues.” Have you ever had someone do something “nice” for you with a grudging attitude? Sometimes, we would rather not the person do anything at all if done with ugliness and disgust. As this prayer ends, when things are done without love, they are dead. In such, these unloving works do not foster life. When we do things that are right in an unloving manner, we are doing them in our own strength and therefore ruin the work. When we approach the spiritual disciplines that God gives us through His Church, we need to ask help to love what we are doing in Christ. All elements in the Church are needed just as all parts of the Body of Christ are needed, whether an attractive part or an unattractive part. Life is often difficult and full of unpleasant things that are necessary. Pray throughout your days that the Holy Spirit will pour love into your heart to do even the unpleasant things with loving compassion. In such, even the most mundane things in life and in the Church will become blessings beyond our hopes.