Choose a topic from Part 2B:

25. The Object of Charity

1. The object of charity, that towards which the act of charity is directed, is God, and our fellow men in God. Says St. John (I John 4:21): "This commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God love also his brother."

2. Charity is love and friendship. We have charity when we love God and neighbor, and wish for our neighbor the good of God's friendship. Thus, out of charity, we love charity itself.

3. We cannot wish to creatures less than man, that is, to irrational creatures, the "fellowship of everlasting happiness." Therefore we cannot love such creatures out of charity.

4. We are to love ourselves out of true charity. For our love of ourselves is the standard of the sort of love we must have for others. Says Holy Scripture (Levit. 19:18): "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

5. Even our body is to be loved out of charity, for it is God's creature to be used by reason in man's service of God. St. Paul says (Rom. 6:13): "Present . . . your members as instruments of justice unto God." We are not, however, to love the disorder of bodily tendencies which are the result in us of the primal fall.

6. We are to love our neighbor out of charity, even if hebe a sinner. We must hate sin, yet we must love the person whosins, wishing him repentance, pardon, and eternal life, forGod's sake.

7. Sinners do not love themselves truly. They love only anapparent good in themselves, and they love external and creaturalgoods as things worth having for their own sake. And thus sinnersmiss the goal of charity which is endless happiness in God.Sinners, therefore, do not love themselves, for, as Holy Writ tellsus (Psalm 10): "He that loveth iniquity, hateth his ownsoul."

8. We have the direct command of our Lord that we are tolove our enemies. In St. Matthew (5:44) we read: "Love yourenemies: do good to them that hate you: pray for them thatpersecute and calumniate you."

9. We must, therefore, love our enemies in general, and wemust also be ready, if God wills to put opportunity in our way, toshow them, as individuals, the signs and offices of love.

10. We are to love God's angels out of charity, for wehope to share with them "the fellowship of everlastinghappiness"; this expectation is an element in the friendshipcalled charity.

11. The fallen angels, that is, the demons in hell, cannotshare the "fellowship of everlasting happiness," andtherefore they are outside the scope of charity.

12. St. Augustine (De Doct. Christ. i) says:"There are four things to be loved: one is above us, God;another is ourselves; a third is near us, our neighbor; a fourth isbelow us, our body."

"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"Lord, here burn, here cut, and dry up in me all that hinders me from going to You, that You may spare me in eternity."
St Louis Bertrand

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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