Love is that good disposition of the soul
in which it prefers nothing that exists to the knowledge of God. No man can
come to such a state of love if he is attached to anything of this
Love is born this way: from faith in God
comes fear of the Lord. From fear, discipline develops. From discipline
comes patience and magnanimity. From these two, hope arises. From hope comes
total control and self-mastery. From total self-mastery comes love.
Putting it in other words: He who believes
in God fears the torments of hell. He who fears the torments restrains
himself from the vices. He who restrains himself bears tribulations,
hardships and sufferings with patience. He who bears tribulations acquires
hope in God. Hope in God frees the mind of all earthly attachments. A mind
thus freed from all attachments acquires love of God.
St. Maximus the Confessor