As the song says, put a little love in your heart.
1 Since the intention of divine law is primarily to this purpose, that man may cling to God, and since man is best able to cling to God through love, it must be that the intention of divine law is primarily ordered to an act of love.
2 Now, it is quite clear that man chiefly clings to God through love. For there are two things in man by which he is enabled to cling to God, namely, intellect and will.
For by means of the lower parts of his soul he cannot cling to God, but only to inferior things. Now, the union which is effected through the intellect is completed by the union which pertains to the will, because through his will man in some way rests in that which the intellect apprehends. But the will adheres to a thing, either because of love or because of fear, but not in the same way.
For, if one clings to something because of fear, he clings because of something else, for instance, to avoid an evil which threatens unless he clings to that thing. But, if one clings to a thing because of love, he does so for the sake of that thing. Now, what is valued for its own sake is of greater importance than what is for the sake of something else. Therefore, the adherence to God in love is the best possible way of clinging to Him. So, this is what is chiefly intended in the divine law.
Notes I will allow myself the bad pun of saying you can’t hug God, but you can imagine it.
3 Again, the end of every law, and above all of divine law, is to make men good. But a man is deemed good from his possession of a good will, through which he may put into act whatever good there is in him. Now, the will is good because it wills a good object, and especially the greatest good, which is the end. So, the more the will desires such a good, the more does a man advance in goodness. But a man has more desire for what he wills because of love than for what he wills because of fear only, for what he loves only from a motive of fear is called an object of mixed involuntariness. Such is the case of the man who wills to throw his merchandise into the sea because of fear. Therefore, the love of the highest good, namely, God, above all else makes men good, and is chiefly intended in the divine law.
4 Besides, man’s goodness stems from virtue, “for virtue is what makes its possessor good.” Hence, law also intends to make men virtuous, and the precepts of law are concerned with acts of the virtues. But it is a condition of virtue that the virtuous man must act with firmness and joy. But love is the chief producer of this result, for we do a thing firmly, and with joy, as a result of love. Therefore, love of the good is the ultimate object. intended in divine law.
5 Moreover, legislators move those to whom the law is given by means of a command pertaining to the law as it is promulgated. In the case of all who are moved by a first mover, any one of them is moved more perfectly when he participates more fully in the motion of the prime mover, and in his likeness. Now, God, Who is the giver of divine law, makes all things because of His love. So, he who tends toward God in this way, namely, by loving Him, is most perfectly moved toward Him. Now, every agent intends perfection in the object of his action. Therefore, this is the end of all legislation: to make man love God.
6 Hence it is said in 1 Timothy (1:5): “The end of the commandment is charity”; and in Matthew (22:37-38) it is said that “the first and greatest commandment of the law is: Love the Lord Your God.”
7 As a further consequence, the New Law, as the more perfect, is called the law of love; while the Old Law, as less perfect, is the law of fear.
Notes He said it.