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60. Love in the Angels

1. Love is a natural inclination of a will towards its object. It is the fundamental operation of will. Where there is will, there is love. Hence there is love in the angels.

2. Love in an angel is not only a natural tendency, it is a knowing tendency of the intellectual order, and involves not only inclination but choice.

3. Every being loves itself inasmuch as it seeks its own good. Free creatures love themselves in this manner, and tend to, or desire, what will be a benefit to them. And in so far as free creatures exercise choice in striving for a beneficial object, they are said to love themselves by choice. Angels love themselves both by natural tendency and by choice.

4. Natural love of one creature for another is based upon some point of unity or sameness in lover and beloved. Since angels are all of the same spiritual nature, they naturally love one another. {The angels are generically one; they are of the same genus or general essential class; we have already seen that they are specifically distinct, that each angel is the only one of its specific essential kind.}

5. By natural love, angels love God more than they love themselves. All creatures belong absolutely to God; they naturally tend to God as their ultimate end or goal. Freely loving creatures must recognize God as their end or goal and tend to him before all else. Hence love of God comes naturally (in free creatures) before love of self, and is the greater love. If this were not so, natural love would be a contradiction, for it would not be perfected by attaining its true object, but would be fruitless and self-destroying.

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."
St Philip Neri

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"If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel."
Thomas á Kempis

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