Sunday, June 24, 2007

Charity or the Love of God

What is Charity? A supernatural habit of the mind whereby we love God above all things for His own sake, and ourselves and our neighbor for Him. It is a theological virtue like [Faith and Hope], but higher than they, and the only eternal one of the three. Faith and Hope will take us as far as the threshold of eternity, but when we actually enter it they will have fallen away. Only of Charity St. Paul has said: Charity never falleth away, never dies; it is eternal, like God Himself, like the Holy Spirit Who pours it into our hearts; and of such surpassing excellence that only the Divine Spirit can infuse it; of a quality that no human force or even the strength of the seraphim, the spirits of love, can impart to us. ~Fr. Escribano

Even supposing -an impossible supposition, of course- that every virtue were enshrined in my soul, my whole existence a most fertile soil and limitless source of heroism, if I lack Charity, nihil mihi prodest, nihil sum; it would avail me nothing, I should count for nothing (Cor. xiii, 3). Charity is necessary -necessitate medii- for my justification and salvation. Who does not love God is in sin.... Whoever appears before the Judgment-seat of God without the cloth-of-gold garment of divine love will have his part and lot with the hypocrites in the unquenchable fire. ~Fr. Escribano

O God, let the solemn, imperative, and burning proclamation which accompanied the issuing of the great precept of love on Mount Sinai serve to impel my entry into the Kingdom of those that love Thee: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength and with thy whole mind (Deut. vi, 5)... for this is the greatest and the first commandment (Matt. xxii, 37). ~Fr. Escribano

The act of least outward significance, for instance, to give someone a drink of water, if done out of supernatural charity is of greater value in the sight of the Supreme Judge than the tortures of a St. Laurence if endured without Charity. ~Fr. Escribano

...Because it is so necessary to love [to have Charity] in man's life, God has imposed it upon him as a precept... and has placed it at the head of His commandments... and He has even summarized in it all the other (precepts). He who loves, keeps already all the other commandments. ~Fr. Villar