The Divine Life in Man
BASED ON THE WRITINGS OF THE SUMMA OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
FOR THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
BY FRS. WALTER FARRELL AND MARTIN HEALY
CHAPTER 3, FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD
DID YOU EVER RECEIVE a package wrapped in gaily colored paper and tied with bright ribbons and marked "Do not open until Christmas"? Do you remember the thrill of happiness you felt as you recognized the name of the sender inscribed in the upper left comer of the package? The name of someone you loved, of someone who loved you? Can you recall your heart's delight as it floated along on clouds of mystery, wondering what was in the package? Or, if you thought you knew, how your heart rejoiced in this proof of someone's love for you! With what eager but certain anticipation you treasured the gift until Christmas day when you could strip away the mysterious wrappings and really see the wonderful thing that love had brought you?
THE VIRTUE OF CHARITY is like a Christmas gift of this kind. It is a proof of God's love for you. It is the foundation of your love for God. It brings you God Himself. But, as long as you are still in this present life, it brings you God wrapped up in the paper and ribbons of faith and marked "Not to be opened until eternity."
CHARITY BRINGS GOD TO MAN because it is man's friendship with God. Like all friendship it is a love of benevolence, that is, it is an unselfish love. Charity loves God for Himself. It does not seek any selfish gain or advantage. It rests in God as the supreme Good. Again, like all friendship, charity is based on a community of interests or of living. Through charity God gives to man a share in the Divine Life, and, therefore, a share in the Divine happiness. God's happiness is His love of His Own infinite goodness and perfection. Charity is man's share in God's love of Himself. It is man's share in God's Own happiness. As God is happy in the love of Himself, so man is happy when he shares in that love through charity.
SINCE GOD IS BOTH INFINITE AND SIMPLE, His love for Himself is identical with Himself. It is therefore infinite---a boundless ocean of love, a limitless uncreated fire of love embracing forever the supreme goodness which is God. Charity---man's share in this infinite love---is a created gift. It is a created, limited participation in Divine love. Because man is a creature, because his will is a created will, he cannot love God with that same infinite love with which God loves Himself. But through charity he can love God as God loves Himself, that is, he can possess God as the source of infinite happiness, he can possess God as He is in Himself, as the supreme Good.
CHARITY IS A VIRTUE whose rule or measure is God Himself as the supreme Good. It unites man to God Himself as the supreme Good. It is a virtue distinct from all other virtues because its object is God Himself considered as the object of eternal happiness. It is more excellent than all other virtues because it is not self-seeking. It rests in God simply because He is God, the supreme Good. It is more excellent than the moral virtues because they are concerned only with the means that lead man to his goal, whereas charity attains the goal itself, God as He is in Himself. It is more excellent than the theological virtues of faith and hope because faith and hope attain God in so far as we derive from Him the knowledge of truth or the assurance of happiness, whereas charity attains God to rest in Him without any thought or desire for personal gain or advantage.
MOREOVER, SINCE CHARITY ATTAINS GOD precisely as the goal of man, no other virtue can be truly perfect unless its acts are directed by charity to the ultimate goal of all human activity, God as He is in Himself. Human acts of prudence or justice or even of faith or hope do not lead man to his ultimate goal unless they are directed to that goal by charity which unites man to God, the goal of all human acts.
BECAUSE THE OBJECT OF CHARITY is God considered as the goal or end of human life, charity is a virtue of the will. It is the will which seeks goals, above all the ultimate goal of all human activity. Charity then, which unites man to the ultimate goal, must be a virtue of the rational appetite, or will of man.
CHARITY IS MAN'S FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD based on man's share in the Divine Life, in the happiness of God Himself. But man cannot naturally share in God's Own life. Man's participation in the Divine Life is a free supernatural gift which God gives to man. Charity then cannot be acquired by any purely human effort. It is a gift of God infused in man's soul by God's goodness and generosity. Charity, like the other theological virtues, is a supernatural virtue infused in the will by God Himself. Who can give man a share in the Divine Love except God Himself?
LIKE ALL GIFTS IT IS MEASURED by the generosity of the giver. God gives charity to men according to His Own will. Since charity is a free gift from God to man, no man can say that his own natural virtues or perfections demand a greater share in God's love than the virtues of other men. As St. Paul says, "To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ." (Eph. IV, 7.) The degree of charity---the love of friendship for God---depends not on man or his natural virtue but on God's generosity.
BUT AS LONG AS MAN is in this present world his friendship with God can increase. As long as a man has not yet reached that ultimate union with God which is found in the vision of God, he can always approach nearer to God. In this life charity is a way to God. Hence a man's friendship with God can increase.
IT WILL INCREASE in the only way in which it is possible for the love of friendship to increase. A man grows in the love of friendship when his love for his friend grows stronger and leads him to do things more frequently for his friend. Consider the growth of friendship between a man and the woman he marries. At the beginning of their courtship he is willing to spend some of his time and his money on her. As his love grows he spends more time and money on her. As it grows still further he begins to admit her to the private world of his thoughts and ambitions, his hopes
and disappointments. Then he begins to think of her troubles and sorrows, her triumphs and joys. Later he marries her and shares his life with her. Ultimately he is ready even to give his own life for her. In a similar way man can grow in the friendship of God. As his love of God grows he is willing to give more of himself for and to God. He begins to think more of God than of himself. He is more likely to do things for God than for himself. The intensity of his love for God grows within him until he is ready to give even his life for God. We might state it simply by saying that the intensity of his love for God grows stronger and stronger and becomes more and more likely to burst forth into acts of love of God.
EVERY NEW ACT OF LOVE OF GOD will at least dispose a man to an increase in his love for God.
Love actually increases only when it becomes more fervent. A man may be friendly with a woman to the extent of taking her out to dinner and a dance. And the more often he does so, the more likely he is to come to love her more ardently. But his love for her does not actually increase until he loves her enough to introduce her to his family, or to ask her to marry him, or to marry her and share his whole life with her. So it is with man's love for God. Every act of love will dispose man to love God more. But only a more fervent act of love of God will actually increase his love of God.
IN THIS LIFE THE LOVE OF MAN for God is always capable of growth. Charity is a share of God's Own love, which is infinite. It is therefore always capable of further growth. Its growth depends on the goodness and power of God which are infinite. And as charity grows in a man through the Divine power, so does man's ability to receive a further increase in his love of God.
SINCE GOD IS INFINITELY LOVABLE in Himself, no man can ever love God as much as God ought to be loved. God alone can love Himself infinitely. But man's love for God can be perfect when man loves God as much as he can. This can happen in three ways. A man may love God with the entire devotion of his heart or will. He thinks always of God. He is always actually loving God. This is the perfection of love for God which is found in the Saints in Heaven. In this present life man cannot love God with such entire devotion. The need for working or eating or sleeping and so on prevent a man from giving his whole attention to God. But even in this present life a man can try to give to God all the love and attention that are not needed for the necessities of daily living. This perfection of love is possible for man but not common among men. Lastly a man can give his whole heart habitually to God, that is, he will neither think or desire anything contrary to the love of God. He may not be thinking of God as much as he could, but he never does anything that would destroy his love for God.
WE MIGHT SAY THAT THE GROWTH of man's love for God in this life will start with the avoidance of sin, go on to the pursuit of good and end with the desire for union with God in Heaven. The reckless youth who has been living a dissolute life falls in love with a good woman. First of all his love leads him to turn from his former irresponsible way of living. To gain the approval of his loved one he avoids his former dissolute companions. He struggles against his own intemperance. Then he begins to seek a good way of life. He settles down, goes to work, starts to save money. Finally he seeks union with his beloved in marriage. The story of man's love for God will follow the same path. When a man begins to love God, first he seeks to avoid sin and the insidious power of concupiscence which would separate him from God. Then he begins to cultivate virtue, to work for happiness. Finally he desires to live with God always.
LOVE IS ALSO CAPABLE OF DECLINE. Purely human love can grow less and less until it perishes altogether. When a man begins to think less and less of his wife, to be less thoughtful of her welfare, to do fewer things to make her happy, then his love for her is failing. When he does something evil to her then his love ceases. Charity---man's love for God---can also fail, though not in precisely the same way. Charity will not fail simply because a man thinks less often of God. It will not even fail through venial sin. Venial sin is concerned only with the means that lead to the goal. It does not destroy man's basic tendency to God in charity. But mortal sin destroys charity completely. Charity is the love of God above all things. But in mortal sin man prefers some created thing to God. Hence mortal sin drives charity out of the soul of man. In a certain sense venial sin can lead to the loss of charity. Since all sin is not in accord with the will of God, the venial sinner is gradually disposing his will to give up God. Because he has not followed the will of God in all things, when some crisis arises in his life, he may give up God for some temporary created good.
IF WE WERE TO REGARD CHARITY as if it were only a purely human love, we might be tempted to think that charity is a love that makes man poor instead of rich. Or we might think that God is a jealous lover who resents the thought or affection that his friends give to anyone or anything else. In one way God is a jealous lover. He wants men to love Him above everything else, even above themselves. But this Divine jealousy is not at all like the painful jealousy of the neurotic human being who makes his beloved unhappy by his unlimited demands for attention and service. Human jealousy, when carried to extremes, is a force that impoverishes the object of its affections. The jealous man will rob his wife of her parents, relatives and friends, her children, her work and her hobbies. He wants her to love nothing but himself. He wants her to have nothing but himself. But the Divine jealousy is a love that enriches man. God asks for man's love through charity not in order to take any good thing away from man but in order to give all good things to man. For through charity man attains God, and in God he finds all good both in this life and in the next. Charity is a share in Divine love. But it is the love of God which is the source of all good in this life and in the next. It is love, the Divine love, which has created the world and all the good things in it. It is God's love which has made man himself and the world in which man is to seek for and to find happiness. When a man loves God more than everything else, he finds everything else in God, everything else that can really make him happy.
SINCE CHARITY IS A SHARE in the Divine love, it follows that it moves man to love all that God loves. But God loves everything that is good. Hence man will love in charity everything that is good. He will love his fellow-men, because God has created them for Himself. He will love himself, because God loves him. He will love the whole world because it gives glory to God. Animals, plants, stones, rivers and mountains---he will love them all because God has created them out of love. Man will love his own body, even though it can lead him into sin, because God made it good, He made it to lead man to God. Man will hate the weakness of the flesh which takes him away from God, but he will love the body in so far as it enables him to find and to serve God Who is his happiness. Charity will embrace even sinners, not because they are sinners, but because they are men who are capable of loving God. Because God loves all things in the measure in which they are lovable, then charity, friendship with God, will love all things according to the same measure.
FIRST OF ALL CHARITY LEADS MAN to love God Himself, because God is the fountain of all happiness. Through charity man loves God more than he loves himself. In God man finds the source of all happiness for himself and for his neighbors. Because he loves God most of all, then he loves everything else in the order in which God loves them. So he loves himself more than he loves his neighbor because he must love his own share in the Divine goodness more than he loves anyone else's possible share in God's love. But he will love his neighbor more than he loves his own body or any temporary material pleasure of this world. For he will rejoice more in the thought that God is in his neighbor's soul than he will rejoice in some convenience, even life, in his own body. He will love some men more than others because he will recognize that God has willed that they play a more significant part in his life. So he will love his relatives and friends more than he loves strangers, because he knows that his salvation and theirs is to be worked out together in the plan of God. Ties of blood or citizenship or effort are all part of God's loving plan for men. Hence charity will lead a man to love his family, his country, his fellow workers. It will also lead man to love his children more than he loves his own parents. For in God's plan his children are more closely united to him. They are a part of himself. He is a part of his parents, but they are not part of him. In charity a man follows the order which God Himself has put in things. So too he will love his wife more than his father or mother. For though he owes his parents love and reverence because they are the source of his own existence, nevertheless in marriage his wife is one with himself, and under God he must love himself more than anything else. For this same reason he will love more those for whom he does good than those who do good for him. He will love his benefactors because they are the source of good for himself. But he will love those for whom he does good even more because he loves in them the effect of his own goodness.
THIS SAME ORDER OF LOVE will remain in Heaven. But there may be some modification of this order in relation to other men. Certainly in Heaven man will love God above all things. But in relation to other men the order may change. In Heaven man's will conforms itself perfectly to God's will. Since God loves more those who are better, then in Heaven a man will love more those who are better than himself. Since their greater goodness is due to God's Own love and bounty, this means only that man is loving God as He is found in other men. Still, from the point of view of the intensity of the love, man will love himself more intensely, because charity directs his mind to God and this is a part of his love for himself.
CHARITY IS A VIRTUE. This means that it is a power to act. Now the act of charity is love. To be charitable is to love. The love of charity is more than good will. To love is to achieve a union of affection. When two people are in love they have a unity of affection. They love one another, they love what each loves. The love of charity in act attains God immediately and other things as God loves them. When a man loves God, he loves God first and then the things that God loves. He loves God completely. He loves all that God is and all that God loves. In addition he loves God as much as he can. In the love of God when it is perfect, there are no reservations. Man loves God to the fullest extent of his capacity.
SINCE LOVE IS THE MOTIVE FORCE of all human actions and the source of all human effort, we naturally expect that charity or the love of God will have a profound influence on the achievement of happiness. Our expectation is not in vain. Charity brings happiness to both the individual human being and to the human race. Charity produces both interior effects in the individual and exterior effects in society. Or we might say, that since charity follows the order which God wills in the created world, then charity should bring good to the world. The interior effects of charity are joy, peace and mercy in the individual. The exterior effects are beneficence, almsgiving and fraternal correction.
THE FIRST EFFECT OF CHARITY or love is joy. The man who loves a friend rejoices when his friend is present with him or when his friend is happy even though absent. In both these ways charity---the love of God---produces joy in man. For the man who loves God knows both that God is supremely good and happy in Himself, and that through love God is present to him. "He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him." (1 John, IV, 16.) Through charity God, Who is the supreme good and the source of all happiness, dwells in the soul of man. If happiness consists in the possession of God, then through charity man possesses essential happiness even in this life.
IT MIGHT BE OBJECTED that even the good seem to experience some sadness in this life. But this is not really incompatible with the joy that charity brings to man. It is true that God is always perfect, always happy. From this point of view the man who loves God can never be unhappy. He can never grieve because God is imperfect or unhappy. A man may be sorrowful because his son is a thief or because his son has been treated shamefully by his wife. But God is always supremely good and happy. Hence those who love God can never be unhappy because of some defect in God's Own happiness. But it is possible to be unhappy because one does not possess God as perfectly as one can. So the man who truly loves God may be sorrowful at the thought of his past sins which separated him from God, or at the thought of some possible future sin which might take him away from God. Or he might be sad because he has not yet reached that perfect union with God which is accomplished only in Heaven through the vision of God.
THUS, THOUGH CHARITY BRINGS JOY into the life of man---joy in the goodness of God and in the possession of God---still man's joy will not be complete until he reaches that perfect possession of God which is man's reward in Heaven. Only in Heaven will charity produce its full effect of joy. Only in Heaven will man see God face to face and forever. Only in Heaven can man be sure that he will never lose that ecstatic happiness for which God made him.
THE SECOND EFFECT OF CHARITY IS PEACE. How the modern world yearns for true peace. But how little the modern world understands what true peace really is. Men think that peace is the result of concord among men. They think that peace is found when men cease to fight with one another for a scrap of paper or a plot of ground or a lode of uranium ore. They forget that there is no true peace among men until there is peace in the individual man. True peace is found only when the conflicting appetites or desires of the individual are harmonized or directed uniformly to the pursuit of the true good of man. As we said above, the individual is not at peace with himself, until his passions are brought under the rule of reason, and until reason itself is directed by the will to the love of God. And until individuals are at peace with themselves, there can be no true peace in society. Now it is the function of charity to direct the activity of all man's powers to the love of God. Charity, therefore, when a man follows its promptings, produces peace in the individual and concord or harmony in society. For through charity the individual unites himself to God and to other men. The peace the world seeks is to be found through Christian charity and in no other way. Only the power of God, through the divinely infused gift of charity, can bring peace to mankind.
THE LAST INTERIOR EFFECT OF CHARITY in the soul of the individual is mercy. Mercy is grief for the distress of someone else, a grief which impels man to help those in distress. If a man loves his neighbor in charity, he is distressed at the misfortunes of his neighbor. The man who loves his wife is in agony when his wife is seriously ill. To feel sympathy with someone else when he is in trouble is an effect of charity. But this feeling of sympathy leads to acts of kindness or of mercy to those in distress. Hence it is not only an effect of charity like joy or peace, it is also a virtue in itself. It directs a man's actions in relation to those of his fellow-men who are in need.
MERCY IS A GREAT VIRTUE because it is fitting that those who possess much should come to the aid of those who are in need. For this reason mercy is a virtue attributed even to God Himself. Even among men mercy is the greatest of all the virtues which rule the relations between men. It is more perfect than justice or fortitude or temperance.
THE REASON FOR THIS is not difficult to see. God has made the whole world because He is good. The world gives glory to God because He is good. Goodness is the essence of all things. But mercy is a more perfect manifestation of goodness to others than any other tendency in man. Hence of all the virtues that regulate the relations between men, mercy is the most perfect.
CHARITY IS LOVE OF GOD and of our neighbor in God. It is natural then to expect that charity will not only make the individual happy but will also tend to produce happiness in society. Charity does this through beneficence, almsgiving and fraternal correction.
BENEFICENCE IS AN ACT of the virtue of charity. To be beneficent is to do good to someone. When a man loves someone, he wishes him well. This well-wishing leads him to do good things for his friend. In this way beneficence is the result of love.
SINCE BENEFICENCE IS AN EFFECT of charity, it follows that it will be measured by the order of charity itself. A man will do good first to those who are closest to him and then to those who are not so closely related to himself. This is the meaning of the old axiom, "Charity begins at home." Of course, good deeds done for others should be measured also according to the circumstances of those who are to receive the benefit. Naturally a man ought to aid a starving stranger rather than give a luxurious gift to a relative who is already wealthy.
ALMSGIVING IS ALSO an external effect of charity. When we love others, we feel distress if they are in need of anything. We regard them as ourselves. Hence we seek to aid them. The deed that we do to aid them in their need, when it is done out of compassion and for God's sake, is called an alms. Since the object of almsgiving is to relieve someone's need, almsgiving is an act of the virtue of mercy. In this way it is ultimately an effect of charity.
THE NEEDS OF MEN are either material or spiritual. Since man is composed of body and soul, he may be in need either corporeally or spiritually. The virtue of mercy then will incline us to aid our neighbor either materially or spiritually. It is from this point of view that the works of mercy---almsgiving---are divided into the corporal and spiritual works.
THE CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY ARE: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to harbour the harbourless, to visit the sick, to ransom the captive, to bury the dead. Briefly, charity---through mercy---inclines us to care for all the bodily needs of men.
THE SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY ARE: to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to reprove the sinner, to forgive injuries, to bear with those who are in trouble and annoy us, and to pray for all. Charity---through mercy---inclines us to care for all the spiritual needs of men.
THE SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY are in themselves better than the corporal works of mercy. This is so because the soul of man is more noble than his body. But in particular cases the corporal works of mercy may be better and more necessary than the spiritual works of mercy. A starving man needs food more than he needs instruction.
CHARITY FOR OUR NEIGHBOR is a matter of precept. Christ Himself has said that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Almsgiving then is also a matter of precept. We must love not only in word but also in deed. The precept of almsgiving must be kept whenever the giver has a surplus of goods---that is, when he has more than he needs for himself and those under his care---and whenever the recipient is in real need. It is obvious that the man who has just enough to eat is not obliged to give it to others. It is also obvious that the recipient of the alms should be in need, else there is no reason for giving him alms. When these two conditions are not fulfilled, then almsgiving is not a matter of precept, but only of counsel.
FRATERNAL CORRECTION is also an external effect of charity. When a man sins, his sin is harmful to himself, and sometimes it is also harmful to society. To impose a correction or penalty for a sin which has harmed society is an act of justice. But to correct a sinner in order to lead him to mend his ways is fraternal correction, an act of charity. Sin is an evil in the sinner himself. To reprove him for his sin, even to impose some penalty---if you are his superior---is an act of charity because it seeks the amendment of the sinner. It seeks to do good to the sinner by inducing him to forsake his sin and regain the friendship of God.
THE FRATERNAL CORRECTION OF THE SINNER which flows from charity should not be confused with the annoying officiousness of the professional busybody. The busybody takes delight in reproaching everybody. He feels obliged to report all wrong-doing ---even when it is only a matter of rumor or conjecture---to higher authorities. He makes himself the policeman of the conscience of the world. He seeks not the amendment but the punishment of the sinner.
FRATERNAL CORRECTION is an act of charity, an act of love. This means that it will be used always with prudence. It will be used only when, where, and how it ought to be done. Fraternal correction will be used only when it is necessary to lead the sinner to repentance. It will be used with discretion. If a private word of warning is sufficient, that is all that is required. A public denunciation of the sinner is allowable only when his sins are harmful to the community or to other men and when no other means will reform him. And in all cases charity demands that the correction be administered with and through love. This means that we may correct our superiors only with respect and reverence, and our equals and inferiors with kindliness and mercy. Above all, correction is never allowable unless the facts are clear and certain.
WHEN WE CONSIDER THE EFFECTS of charity, it is easy to see that charity could transform the world. Charity itself is an evidence of the entrance of God into the world of men. It is God's love which introduces charity into the souls of men. Charity is a share in the Divine love. It unites men immediately to the supreme Love which is God. Through the possession of God the soul of man is filled with joy. Because all man's powers are given direction and unity through the God-centeredness of charity, peace enters the soul of man and spreads concord among men. Charity begets in men's hearts the mercy which safeguards the poor, the weak and the needy. Charity opens the hearts of men to the whole world and enables them to put the mark of love on the world through beneficence, almsgiving and fraternal admonition. If all men lived by charity the world would be the paradise on earth of which men have dreamed since time began.
BUT THE WORLD IS NOT a paradise on earth. This can only mean that charity is not the well-spring of all human action. The lack of joy in the world today, the ominous absence of peace, the cruelty and barbarity instead of mercy, the predominance of sensuality over spirituality, of envy over good-will, of scandal instead of beneficence---all these are due to a lack of charity. Men lie, steal, cheat, foment discord, strife and war because they have forsaken the love of God and men. And the end of it all is hatred, the worst sin against God and men.
THE WORST SIN AGAINST CHARITY is hatred. To hate God and men means to turn away from them as evil. But God is supremely good. There is no evil in Him. As for men, their human nature, since it is God's creation, is good. In addition, if they have through grace received a share in God's Own life, they are also divinely good. Now it is most natural to man to love what is good. Hence hatred of God or men is the most monstrous perversion of man's will. Through hatred man denies what is most natural to him.
SINCE GOD IS INFINITELY GOOD and in no way evil in Himself, it might seem impossible for man to hate God. But love and hate follow knowledge. Unfortunately man does not see God clearly in this life. Hence it is possible for a sinful man to consider God only as an avenging Judge forbidding sin and inflicting punishment. As long then as the sinner refuses to give up his sin, God will appear to him as something evil to himself. In this way it is possible for man to hate what is supremely lovable in itself.
HATRED OF MEN is due to envy. Envy is sorrow about someone else's good. Since man naturally loves the good wherever it is to be found, hatred of men is the end of a journey not a beginning. In the beginning men naturally love one another. It is only after sin has deformed and destroyed man's natural good will, it is only after a man has seen his own lack of good that he comes to resent the good in others.
HATRED THEN IS NOT so much a capital sin---a source of other sins---as it is the end result of a life of sin. Perseverance in sin leads a man to hate God Who punishes sin and good men in whom there is no sin. Hatred comes to a man after he has lost charity through sinful opposition to the effects of charity.
THE FIRST EFFECT OF CHARITY is joy in the goodness of God. But this joy can only live through the union of man's will with God in charity. And charity demands that man keep all the commandments. Charity demands a fellowship in good between God and man. When the effort to live in this fellowship in good begins to appear too difficult to man he begins to be sorrowful about the infinite goodness of God. This sorrow weighs down the spirit of man and leads him to neglect good. This sorrow is the sin of sloth, sorrow about the goodness of God. Sloth is a capital sin. It leads men into other sins. To avoid the sorrow or weariness of spirit which is sloth men will turn from God to the sinful pleasures of the world.
WHEN A MAN FALLS VICTIM to sloth and is sorrowful because of the goodness of God it
is only natural that he will begin to be grieved also at the manifestation of the goodness of God in other men. He will resent good men simply because they are good. This resentment is envy, hatred of someone else's good. Since the love of our neighbor flows from our love of God, it is natural that when we cease to love God's goodness, we will also begin to hate the goodness of men. Envy, like sloth, is a capital sin. It will lead men to commit other sins to destroy the goodness of their neighbors.
WHEN A MAN'S HEART IS FILLED with sloth and envy the interior peace of his soul which was the effect of charity is destroyed. The loss of this interior peace leads to the destruction of the peace of society. When a man's heart is no longer centered in God, then his life loses all proper direction. The order of charity no longer guides his life. When the love of God is gone he has nothing left but the love of himself. When a man loves himself without loving God then he can brook no opposition to his own judgment or arbitrary will. He can tolerate goodness in no one else. He will even, by the sin of scandal, by his own words and example, lead other men into sin. He must disagree with all men. He must dispute with them, separate himself from them, quarrel with them, go to war with them, set the whole of the community at war with itself.
WHEREVER THE GOODNESS OF GOD is most manifest, there will the heart of the man who no longer loves God be most energetic in sowing the seeds of discord, contentiousness, strife and war. That is why religion and the true Church of God are so viciously attacked in the world today. Those who do not love God are driven by sloth and envy to attack God's tabernacle on earth. When envy and sloth have led men through discord, contention, schism, quarreling, war and sedition to the hatred of God and man, then the sad journey of sinful man is complete. Hatred is the end of the flight from love. But the end of this journey is not a resting place. Man was made for love. He cannot rest in hate. Love brings fulfillment and rest in the goodness of God in Himself and in His world. But hatred can only bring an agonizing frustration. Hatred despises what man most naturally loves---the good. But hatred cannot destroy what it hates---the good. The goodness of God is eternal. The manifestation of His goodness in the world goes on forever despite the evil of men. The man who hates then lives in a perpetual defeat. His hatred can find no rest because the goodness which harasses him is eternal.
WHERE THEN SHALL MEN FIND peace and joy and rest except in the love of God and men.
Only a whole-hearted love of God and of men in God will bring peace to the individual and to society. Love can build a world. Hate can only destroy. Hatred sets men at odds with themselves and with God. They cannot judge correctly the value of men or nature. It is only in God that everything in the world receives its true place and its proper value. Only charity perceives everything as it is in God. Only charity therefore can enable a man to judge both the world and himself properly. And only this true judgment enables a man to find that tranquility of order which is Peace.
CHARITY PERCEIVES EVERYTHING AS IT IS IN GOD. We might more correctly say that charity is the cause of the gift of wisdom. We are speaking not of natural human wisdom which judges everything in the light of the highest cause of things as that cause is known through reason but of that Divine gift of the Holy Ghost which enables man to judge Divine things and human actions as they are in God. Through this gift of wisdom man is enabled to judge of things, whether Divine or human, as God sees them. This is possible to man because in the friendship of charity man shares in the Divine life. Two people who lead a life in common can judge the meaning and significance of that life and of their actions in that life in a way that is possible to no one else. To a stranger the harshness of a husband's voice as he speaks to his wife will seem to be an evidence of dislike or hatred. But to the wife who has lived a common life with the husband, the harshness of his voice indicates only his concern for her welfare in the crisis which they are both facing. It is an evidence of love. In charity man possesses God Himself and shares in the Divine life of knowledge and love. Through charity and the gift of Divine wisdom in the human intellect man can estimate properly the attributes of God in themselves, the effects of God's actions in the world and the relation of human actions to the love of God. Through the gift of wisdom man shares in the Divine wisdom. He sees all things as God sees them and therefore sees them most truly. He sees them as they really are. With the truth of this vision man can set his life in order, in the order of charity. With wisdom man moves through the world truly awake and alert, realizing the true significance of everything. Without wisdom man is foolish. The meaning of the world and of life escapes him. His mind is dulled by sin. He turns from God---Who alone is the inner meaning of things---to things themselves. Without God nothing can explain itself. Without wisdom man commits the supreme folly of seeking answers where there is no voice to reply. With wisdom man learns from the only Teacher Who really knows everything.
BUT WISDOM accompanies and flows from charity. Without charity there is no gift of wisdom. Without charity there is no fellowship in the Divine life. Without that fellowship man has no power to see things as God sees them. Wisdom then depends on charity.
ORDER AND PEACE DEPEND ON WISDOM, both in the individual and in society. Man needs Divine wisdom to set in order the house of his own soul and the house of human society. Man therefore needs charity. He needs to preserve charity so that wisdom may grow with charity. With charity and wisdom man can remake the world according to the plan of a God Who is love. With charity and wisdom man escapes from the dark narrow prison of selfishness into the great wonderful free world of God's love. God does His part when He gives man that share in His own life which is charity. All that man needs is the generosity of spirit to use charity, to give himself in love to God and his fellowmen.
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