Sola Sancta Caritas | Only Holy Love

When I received notice of this eBook release recently, it particularly caught my attention — Sola Sancta Caritas (Only Holy Love), by Joseph Dongell.  It is but a sketch; and yet, this is perhaps one of the most critical statements on Holiness for the church today. I won’t do the injustice of summarizing this rich material — suffice it to say, this message resonates profoundly with the conversation in which God has been leading me. Dongell has put into words an understanding of Holiness that is entirely and beautifully Scriptural and one that the Wesley brothers articulated with great richness and depth in sermon and song. Herein you will find the words perhaps for the first time to rightly describe sanctification as the perfect and perfecting work of Holy Love.

My upbringing in the Holiness Movement was much like that of the author; but my Christian walk languished for many years — distracted theologically and defeated by sin. it was only a few short years ago that I came to recognize an overwhelming demonstration of God’s Love as He pursued and brought me to repentance — therein I began living anew in His blessed peace and joy. Very specifically, the emphasis of the Spirit on me and in me has been that the Love of God is the most essential element — yes, the very essence of the Christian life and of God Himself. The divine mystery is this thing we call love … yet mere mortal words in any language can never capture all that means. It is nothing that we could ever conjure up or exert ourselves to effect even were we to harness all the energies of the universe. We must look to Jesus, the incarnation of the Divine, to see and hear and know and be filled. The greatest commandments are Love. (Mark 12:30-31) The new command that is the oldest command is Love. (John 13:34) And we love because we have been so loved. (1 John 4:19) But it is in no way of ourselves — it is only in the fullness and anointing and cleansing of the Spirit of Love that we are enabled to obey the law of Love. Love is the Progenitor of all that is good — upon us, in us, through us, and from us.

So it was that I read Sola Sancta Caritas this morning — I found I could do little else but cry out in worship of my Lord and God.

My God, the anguish of my sin;
I plead, save me from this burden.
The wretch within torments me so;
‘Tis only You can make me whole.

Oh, Holy Love, come fill me now;
Make new in me this fervent vow.
I will not cease my all to give,
Till in my soul I know You live.

Power over the innate urge;
Tis You alone my soul can purge.
Power to serve both friend and foe;
Such perfect will I long to know.

Oh, Holy Love, come fill me now;
Make new in me this fervent vow.
I will not cease my all to give,
Till in my soul I know You live.

God’s wrath perfectly satisfied;
In Love let me be sanctified.
The crushing weight of longing need;
I taste and know I may be freed.

Oh, Holy Love, You fill me now;
Making sure this fervent vow.
I will not cease my all to give,
Now in my soul I know You live!

Sweet Spirit of Love that in me dwells;
Of this Good News I must all tell!
Be saved and cleansed by perfect Love
From earth below to Heaven above!

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