“The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The passage reveals an important truth to us about the virtue of charity: true love of neighbor flows from true love of God. Jesus tells the scribe that the first commandment is to love God with the entirety of our being. Then we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. The love of God is a prerequisite for love of neighbor and for every charitable action.
Practicing the corporal works of mercy is a practical way to grow in the virtue of charity. Seek at least one way that you can do so this week.
(1) Feed the hungry.
(2) Give drink to the thirsty.
(3) Clothe the naked.
(4) Shelter the homeless.
(5) Visit those in prison.
(6) Comfort the sick.
(7) Bury the dead.
Prayer is the answer. Prayer is what the Blessed Virgin Mary did when she faced the contradictions of her life as Mother of the Messiah. It was in her heart that Our Lady found the grace and consolation she needed. In our barren times, how do we need to pray more, not less?
“All that is done by obedience is meritorious . . . It is obedience, which, by the light of Faith, puts self-will to death, and causes the obedient man to despise his own will and throw himself into the arms of his superior . . . Placed in the bark of obedience, he passes happily through the stormy sea of this life, in peace of soul and tranquility of heart. Obedience and faith disperse darkness; he is strong because he has no longer any weakness or fears, for self-will, which is the cause of inordinate fear and weakness, has been destroyed.”
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”
“It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
“If you would attain the purity you ask of me, there are three principal things you must do. You must be united with me in loving affection, bearing in your memory the blessings you have received from me. With the eye of your understanding you must see my affectionate charity, how unspeakably much I love you. And when the human will is concerned you must consider my will rather than people’s evil intentions, for I am their judge – not you, but I.”