The words of Scripture often resonate deeply within our hearts, stirring us to reflect on the meaning of wholehearted love and devotion to God. As I recently read Don Dolindo’s 20th century commentary on Deuteronomy chapter 6, I was moved by his poetic insights into Moses’ teaching about loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Don Dolindo’s examination of this profound biblical passage on total commitment to the triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – emphasizes that real love for God is not vague affection but rather a determined gaze upon the living God in all His fullness. Don Dolindo elaborates on the meaning of wholehearted devotion in this passage:
“With a solemnity of speech that reveals all the flame that burned in his heart, Moses speaks to the people of Israel about that precept which Jesus Christ called the first and greatest commandment of the entire law: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” … With truly sculpted words, Moses gives us all the characteristics of true love for God. First of all, love for God is not a vague expansion towards Divinity, but a determined gaze upon the living God, one and three. Moses says, first and foremost, “Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.” The Church Fathers recognize in these words a reference to the Holy Trinity: the Lord as the Father, our God as the given Son, and the one God, the infinite Love that unites the Father and Son, encompassing the Holy Spirit. Our love encompasses three distinct impulses, each with its unique goal while forming a unified whole: the heart, the soul, and the forces. These forces include those of the spirit and the body. With the heart, we love God the Father; with the soul, we love God the Son; with our mind and actions, we love God as Love. The soul cannot truly love God without knowing Him, appreciating Him, and giving herself to Him. With the mind, we come to know Him; with the heart, we learn to appreciate Him; and through our actions, we wholeheartedly give ourselves to Him. Let us say this phrase with all our soul: “I love You my God.” Give it a try, and you’ll feel the mind rising, the heart expanding, and the forces gently tending towards Him. It is therefore senseless to desire to love God without dwelling in the life-giving radiance of the Holy Trinity.”
After reflecting on Don Dolindo’s insights into wholehearted devotion to God, I felt inspired to write my own prayer reflecting on loving the Trinity. The following is the prayer I wrote based on Don Dolindo’s prayer, “I love You my God”:
I love You my God The Father with all my heart. You have promised to give me a new heart and a new spirit, removing my heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Your love and grace have the power to bring about a profound change within me, allowing me to love and serve You wholeheartedly. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).
I love You my God The Son with all my soul. You redeemed my soul on Calvary. While I am still a sinner, You died for me, demonstrating Your love for me (Romans 5:8). You, the one and only Son, were sent by the Father into this world, not because I loved You first, but because You loved me unconditionally. Your love took on flesh, becoming an atoning sacrifice for my sins (John 4:9-10).
I love You my God The Holy Spirit with all my mind. You illuminate my mind with your gifts. I pray that you make me bear your fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Let me walk by the Spirit rather than following the illusions of the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
I love You my God The Holy Trinity with all my strength. Before you formed me in the womb, you knew me, before I was born, you set me apart; you appointed me as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). I love you, O Lord, my strength (Psalm 18:1).
After reflecting on what it means to love the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – I felt drawn to also address the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary models perfect love and devotion to God. As the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son, and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, she exemplifies loving the Trinity with her whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Mary’s Immaculate Heart is completely united to the Heart of the Father. Her soul magnifies the Lord and aligns fully with the will of God the Son. Her inner strength comes from the Holy Spirit, who overshadowed her and dwells within her. Because Mary loves God wholly and unconditionally, turning to her deepens our own relationship with the triune God. Her perfect devotion inspires me to strive for the same kind of wholehearted love.
Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, teach me to love God the Father with all my heart. God promised to give me a new heart and a new spirit, but you were conceived without sin, your Immaculate Heart radiating purity and love. Help me to embrace the same purity of heart and love for God that you possess. Pray for me that my heart may be transformed, and that I may always live in alignment with God’s will.
Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, teach me to love God the Son with all my soul. You, the Mother of the Redeemer, shared in the sufferings of your Son so that my soul may be redeemed. In your soul, you carried the weight of the world’s sins, uniting yourself fully with the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. Through your intercession, may I come to know the depth of God’s love and mercy, and may my soul be continually nourished by your prayers.
Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, teach me to love God the Holy Spirit with all my mind. Your mind, guided by the Holy Spirit, comprehended the mysteries of God, and your faith and trust in His plan never wavered. Help me to cultivate a mind open to God’s revelation and teachings, that I may truly understand and embrace the truths of the faith. Pray for me, that I may grow in wisdom and knowledge, constantly seeking to deepen my relationship with God.
Oh Blessed Virgin Mary, teach me to love God the Trinity with all my strength. As the Help of Christians, you tirelessly advocate for us and lend us your strength in times of trial. Your strength, O Queen of Angels, is an inspiration for me to surrender my weaknesses to the power of God’s grace. Obtain for me the courage to persevere, the fortitude to endure, and the zeal to labor for the Kingdom of God, with all my strength and energy.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Mediatrix of All Graces, Mirror of Justice, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Refuge of Sinners, Tower of Ivory, Star of the Sea, pray for us, that we may come to love God with our whole being, just as you have shown us through your exemplary life of faith, hope, and love. Mary, Queen of Heaven, guide us in wholehearted devotion to the Holy Trinity so we can proclaim with Don Dolindo: “I love You my God”.
Image: The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors, Masaccio, Santa Maria Novella, Florence.