DEGREES OF LOVE
The first degree is when we love
ourselves for our own sake. Unspiritual and worldly that we are,
nothing interests us except things that relate to ourselves.
The second degree is when we begin
to see that we cannot get along by ourselves; so we begin to seek
God's help for our own sakes. We love God, but only for our own
After meditating, reading, praying,
and obeying much, we come to gradually know God through actual
experience. By tasting how sweet the Lord is, we begin to love God,
not for our own sake, but for Himself. This is the third.
The fourth, I think, is extremely
rare here on earth. This is when, in our love for God, we forget
ourselves, attaining one mind and one heart with God.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux