Choose a topic from Part 2B:

44. The Precepts of Charity

1. Whatever God requires of us is a matter of precept.Now, God requires us to love him, and to love our neighbor for hissake. Hence, there are precepts of charity, which is the love ofGod and friendship with God in his holy grace. We have suchprecepts in scripture: (Deut. 10:12), "Fear the Lord thy God,and walk in His ways and love Him"; (Matt. 22:37, 39),"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, andwith thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind"; "Thoushalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

2. The love of God involves love of neighbor for God. Forwho can really love God and not love what God loves? And God lovesall men. Yet, since many would not notice that love of neighbor isincluded in the love of God, it is fitting that the great law ofcharity should have expression in two precepts: love of God, andlove of neighbor.

3. These two precepts of charity suffice. Our Lord himselfsays (Matt. 22:40): "On these two commandments dependeth thewhole law, and the prophets."

4. God is to be loved as the last end, the ultimate goal,the eternal purpose to which all things are to be referred. Thistotality of order and direction of creatures to God isindicated to mankind in the precept requiring all men to love Godwith the whole heart . . . whole soul . . . whole mind.

5. Other expressions of scripture emphasize the sametotality of tendency to God; we are told to love God with our wholemight, and with all our strength.

6. Perfect fulfillment of the great precept of charity,that is, total love of God, cannot be attained in this earthlylife; it will come in heaven. St. Augustine says (De Perfect.Justit.), in the "fullness of heavenly charity, thisprecept will be fulfilled. ... As long as carnal concupiscenceremains to be restrained by continence, man cannot love God withhis whole heart." Yet it is man's duty on earth to comenearer and nearer to the fulfilling of the precept of perfectcharity.

7. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves; not,indeed, as much as we love ourselves, but in the samemanner, and with desire for thesame good that we seek forourselves. We seek to attain God, and, loving our neighbor asourselves, we seek to have our neighbor attain God.

8. The order of charity is expressed in the precept of charity:love of God first, and love of neighbor second. And yet the secondlove is in the first.

"Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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