St. Bernard of Clairvaux believed that in order to love others, you must go to the source of love, God.
Love is a beautiful human emotion that can spur us on to care for others. Yet, love doesn’t always come easily, and in many cases we feel no love at all in our heart.
To remedy that situation, St. Bernard of Clairvaux believed that you need to go to the source of all love, God himself.
He explains his thoughts in one of his many sermons.
Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it.
This is a central truth that is further confirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Love of neighbor is inseparable from love for God. (CCC 1878)
Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own “to the end,” he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (CCC 1823)
As the apostle John writes, “He who does not love does not know God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8).
If we truly want to love others, even our own spouse or family, we must go to the source of love.