BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 15: OF WORKS DONE OUT OF CHARITY
EVIL ought not to be done for anything in the world, nor for the love of any human being; but yet for the benefit of one that is in need, a good work is sometimes freely to be left undone, or rather to be changed for what is better.
For by this means a good work is not lost, but changed into a better.
Without charity, the outward work profiteth nothing; but whatever is done out of charity, be it ever so little and contemptible, it is all made fruitful; in as much as God regardeth more out of how much love a man doth a work, than how much he doth.
2. He doth much who loveth much. He doth much who doth well what he hath to do. He doth well, who regardeth rather the common good than his own will.
Oftentimes that seemeth to be charity which is rather carnality; for natural inclination, self-will, hope of reward, study of our own interests, will seldom be absent.
3. He that hath true and perfect charity, seeketh himself in nothing, but only desireth God to be glorified in all things.
And he envieth no man, for he loveth no joy for himself alone.
Neither doth he desire to rejoice in himself, but wisheth to find his blessedness above all good things in God.
He attributeth nothing or good to any man, but referreth it all to God, from Whom, as from their fountain, all things proceed, and in Whom, as in their end, all the Saints repose in fruition.
Oh, if one had but a spark of real charity truly would he feel that all earthly things are full of vanity!
WE cannot dwell too much upon these words of the author: "God regards more
with how much love and affection a person performs a work than how much he does: and he does much who loves much:" that is, our actions are really pleasing to God, only in proportion as they are influenced by a desire of pleasing Him, and, as it were, stamped with the seal of His love. Whatsoever you do, says St. Paul, do all for the honor and glory of God. It is a lively, active, and often renewed love which constitutes the merit of our good actions; faith itself becomes weak and languishing if not animated by charity and by a pious and affectionate tendency towards the Author of these truths which it unfolds to us.
Let us, therefore, endeavor to love God in all we do, and to do all for the love of Him. All for Thee, O Jesus, all with Thee, all in Thee! Behold, my soul, what thou shouldst say and do incessantly in order to lead a supernatural and meritorious life, and to commence in time what thou hopest to continue throughout eternity.
HOW wearied am I, O my God, with being so often forgetful of Thy presence, and devoid of Thy love! What confusion for me to think so little of a God Whose thoughts are always upon me, and to be so frequently indifferent about Thee, my Jesus, Who art ever burning with the love of me! Suffer me not to live one moment without loving Thee; and as Thou art the center of my heart, inflame me with such a continual affection for Thee, such a lively and ardent desire of pleasing Thee and of seeking Thee in and before all things, that I may find no repose nor true happiness but in Thee. Amen.