“St. Bernard (1090-1153) said that there are four ascending degrees of love:
1) Love of self for self’s sake (a good start).
2) Love of God for self’s sake (most early stage religion).
3) Love of God for God’s own sake (No reward in view. Presumes you have lived experience of God’s goodness).
4) Love of self for God’s sake! (I bet this one surprised you! It did me, but it implies overcoming all resistance to love especially where I have the most contrary evidence–in myself!)
I find this analysis truly brilliant and confirming of my own experience. Finally, I can only love MYSELF IN GOD and GOD IN MYSELF, and then ALL the loves are one big and free gift.”
via Richard Rohr