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Reflections: Catholic Basics Section (Love/Charity)

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Love / Charity

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Love / Charity



Love / Charity

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 5:43-48)

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 10:37-38)

"When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them (a scholar of the law) tested [Jesus] by asking, 'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?' He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.'" (Mt. 22:34-40)

"One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, 'Which is the first of all the commandments?' Jesus replied, 'The first is this: 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 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.'" (Mk. 12:28-31)

"There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, 'Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' Jesus said to him, 'What is written in the law? How do you read it?' He said in reply, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.' He replied to him, 'You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.'" (Lk. 10:25-28)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (Jn. 3:16) [Note: As Scripture makes clear, faith is a necessary first step to salvation. To be saved, one must also live according to God's laws.]

"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 13:34-35)

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 14:15)

"Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 14:21)

"As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 15:9-17)

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:38-39)

"Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor." (Rom. 12:9-10)

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom. 13:8-10)

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void or tongues shall cease or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part: and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity." (1 Cor. 13:1-13)

"Your every act should be done with love." (1 Cor. 16:14)

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection." (Col. 3:12-14)

"Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 Jn. 2:15)

"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us." (1 Jn. 4:7-12)

"God is love" (1 Jn. 4:16) [Note: DR Trans: "God is charity"]

"If anyone says, 'I love God,' but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 Jn. 4:20-21)

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves (also) the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments." (1 Jn. 5:1-3)

"For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk." (2 Jn. 1:6)

"Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins." (St. Peter, 1Pt. 4:8)

"Love is the greatest commandment."

"Unconditional love alone is true love."

"The best way to show love is to serve."

"Do small things with great love." (Mother Teresa)

"True, unconditional love cannot be revoked."

"To love is to wish the other's highest good." (Benson)

"Love is the only strategy of a true Christian."

"Without Love, nothing is pleasing to God." (St. Clement)

"To pay back hatred with love is the pinnacle of perfect love." (St. Valerian)

"True love does not think about itself, but about how to increase the good of the beloved." (Pope John Paul II)

"Love, when it is genuine, is all-embracing, stable and lasting, an irresistible spur to all forms of heroism." (Pope Paul VI)

"Sometimes hatred is charming, while love must show itself severe." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[The] greatest of all laws, the law of love, admits of no exception, either here or in heaven." (Liturgical Year)

"Man is unreasonable, illogical, egocentric. It doesn't matter - love him." (Mother Teresa)

"Mount Calvary is the academy of love." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"Make many acts of love, for they set the soul on fire and make it gentle." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"As the image of God, man is created for love." (Pontifical Council for the Family, 1995)

"True charity means returning good for evil - always." (St. Mary Mazzarello)

"Love can every pain requite, Love alone is pure delight." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"Where charity is not found, God cannot dwell." (St. Albert the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"For without charity no virtue is pleasing to God." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Happy is the man who is able to love all men alike." (St. Maximus the Confessor)

"[C]harity [is] the mistress and the queen of virtues." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891 A.D.)

"Love is the abridgment of all theology." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he soul learns, from those things it knows, to love what it knows not" (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"For to be sure a characteristic of Christian charity is that it extends equally to all" (Pope Leo XIII, "Reputantiubus", 1901 A.D.)

"[N]o true virtue is possible without charity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Love that is not based on virtue is easily voided, especially in evil men" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Charity is love; not all love is charity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Love of our neighbor is included in the love of God." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[W]e ought to love God...more than our neighbor." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"You don't love in your enemies what they are, but what you would have them to become." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The height of love's ecstasy is to have our will not in its own contentment but in God's." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"You ask me for a method of attaining perfection. I know of love - and only love. Love can do all things." (St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church)

"[W]hatever a man supposed he was doing well, if he did it without charity, he would not be doing well at all" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Envy separates, love unites: have it, and you have all things: whereas without it nothing that you can have, will profit you." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Love is the gift of self. It means emptying oneself to reach out to others. In a certain sense, it means forgetting oneself for the good of others." (Pope John Paul II, 1993)

"What would be the good of learning without love? It would puff up. And love without learning? It would go astray" (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"[L]ove is only real when, with or without austerities, it lives by faith, generosity, and self-renunciation, in humility, simplicity, and gentleness." (Liturgical Year)

"Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Often, unfortunately, in the hedonistic culture we experience today, it is rather its caricature and even its betrayal that are labeled with the name of love." (Pope John Paul II, 1993)

"Love for our neighbor consists of three things: To desire the greater good of everyone; to do what good we can when we can; to bear, excuse, and hide others' faults." (St. John Vianney)

"Love is great and authentic not only when it seems easy and pleasant, but also and most of all when it is strengthened in life's small and big trials." (Pope John Paul II)

"[C]harity increases only by its subject partaking of charity more and more subject thereto." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For all love those who love them; it is peculiar to Christians alone to love those that hate them." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), 3rd century A.D.]

"[H]e is not worthy of the name of Christian who does not fulfill in spirit and action the new command given by Christ that we love one another as He has loved us." (Pope Leo XIII, "Reputantiubus", 1901 A.D.)

"The spirit of Christian charity lives not within you, if you lament the body from which the soul has departed, but lament not the soul from which God has departed." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church) 

"A man truly loves his enemy when he is not offended by the injury done to himself, but for love of God feels burning sorrow for the sin his enemy has brought on his own soul, and proves his love in a practical way." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"The love that desires to walk to God's will through consolations walks ever in fear of taking the wrong path; but the love that strikes straight through dryness toward the will of God walks in assurance." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"The widow who gave less in quantity, gave more in proportion; and thus we gather that the fervor of her charity, whence corporal almsdeeds derive their spiritual efficacy, was greater." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"This is what God does when He increases charity, that is He makes it to have a greater hold on the soul, and the likeness of the Holy Ghost to be more perfectly participated by the soul." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For greater indeed is the paternity of Christ than that of blood: for the fraternity of blood touches the likeness only of the body; the fraternity of Christ, however, conveys unanimity of heart and spirit, as is written: One was the heart and one the spirit of the multitude of believers" (St. Maximus)

"Everyone must be loved equally; but, when you cannot be of assistance to all, you must above all have regard for those who are bound to you more closely by some accident, as it were, of location, circumstances, or occasions of any kind." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Amidst all the emotions, sentiments, and feelings of the soul, love is outstanding in this respect, namely, that it alone among created things, has the power to correspond with, and to make return to the Creator in kind, though not in equality." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"Now whosoever has not charity is wicked, because 'this gift alone of the Holy Ghost distinguishes the children of the kingdom from the children of perdition,' as Augustine says (De Trinitate xv,18)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For it is the nature of love, to love when it feels itself loved, and to love all things loved of its beloved. So when the soul has by degrees known the love of its Creator toward it, it loves Him, and loving Him, loves all things whatsoever that God loves." (St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church)

"God ought to be loved chiefly and before all out of charity: for He is loved as the cause of happiness, whereas our neighbor is loved as receiving together with us a share of happiness from Him." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil - such belongs to a perfect spiritual love." (St. Maximus the Confessor)

"The school of Christ is the school of charity. On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"Charity is the bond of brotherhood, the foundation of peace, the steadfastness and firmness of unity; it is greater than both hope and faith; it excels both good works and suffering of the faith; and, as an eternal virtue, it will abide with us forever in the kingdom of heaven." (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"[J]ustice and charity are so linked with each other, under the equable and sweet law of Christ, as to form an admirable cohesive power in human society and to lead all of its members to exercise a sort of providence in looking after their own and in seeking the common good as well." (Pope Leo XIII, "Graves De Communi Re", 1901 A.D.)

"Love consists not in the extent of our happiness, but in the firmness of our determination to try to please God in everything, and to endeavor in all possible ways not to offend Him, and to pray Him ever to advance the honor and glory of His Son and the growth of the Catholic Church." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"For this rule of love is divinely established. 'Love your neighbor as yourself', He says; but 'God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, with your whole mind.' so that you will devote all your thoughts and all your life and all your intellect to Him from whom you have those very things which you devote to Him." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone - for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as for those who do us good." (St. John Vianney)

"No, my dear brethren, even if you could perform miracles, you will never be saved if you have not charity. Not to have charity is not to know your religion; it is to have a religion of whim, mood, and inclination. Cary on, carry on, you are only hypocrites and outcasts! Without charity, you will never see God, you will never go to heaven!" (St. John Vianney)

"No need to despair, man. Look, there has still remained for you a means to satisfy your most Pious Creditor. Do you want to be forgiven? Then love! 'Love covers a multitude of sins.' What worse crime is there than denial? And yet Peter was able to wipe away even this by love alone, when the Lord, to test him, says, 'Peter, dost thou love me?' Among all God's precepts, love takes the first place." (St. Peter Chrysologus, Doctor of the Church)

"According to the teaching of the Divine Master, the perfection of Christian life consists especially in the love of God and of one's neighbor, a love that is fervent, devoted, and painstaking. If it has these qualities it can be said to embrace all virtues; and can rightly be called the 'bond of perfection'. In whatever circumstances a man is placed he should direct his intentions and his actions towards this end." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

"'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart (Deut 6:5). Thou shalt love thy neighbor as they self (Lev. 19:18).' These are the two commandments of which our Lord spoke: on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:40). The perfection of the Christian life, therefore, consists in keeping these precepts." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"While at prayer, I begged our Lord to make known to me by what means I could satisfy the desire that I had to love him. He gave me to understand, that one cannot better show one's love for him than by loving one's neighbor for love of him; and that I must work for the salvation of others, forgetting my own interest in order to espouse those of my neighbor, both in my prayers and in all the good I might be able to do by the mercy of God." (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)

"Love is strong as death (Cant. viii. ) since both equally separate the soul from the body and all terrestrial things, the only difference is, that the separation is real and effectual when caused by death, whereas that occasioned by love is usually confined to the heart. I say usually, because divine love is sometimes so violent that it actually separates the soul from the body, and, by causing the death of those who love, it renders them infinitely happier than if it bestowed on them a thousand lives." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"True charity consists in bearing with all the defects of our neighbor, in not being surprised at his failings, and in being edified by his least virtues; Charity must not remain shut up in the depths of the heart, for no man lighteth a candle and putteth it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house' (Mt. 5:15). It seems to me that this candle represents the Charity which ought to enlighten and make joyful, not only those who are dearest to me, but all who are in the house." (St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church)

"However, action may be concerned with private and domestic affairs or public affairs. - Certainly in private matters the first duty is to conform life and conduct most diligently to the precepts of the Gospel, and not to refuse to do so when Christian virtue exacts something more than ordinarily difficult to bear and endure. Furthermore, all should love the Church as their common mother; keep her laws obediently; promote her honor, and preserve her rights; and they should try to have her cherished and loved with equal devotion by those over whom they have any authority." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885 A.D.)

"Just as man has a certain perfection of his nature as soon as he is born, which perfection belongs to the very essence of his species, while there is another perfection which he acquires by growth, so again there is a perfection of charity which belongs to the very essence of charity, namely that man love God above all things, and love nothing contrary to God, while there is another perfection of charity even in this life, whereto a man attains by a kind of spiritual growth, for instance when a man refrains even from lawful things, in order more freely to give himself to the service of God." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be; nor in theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and the goal of the human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting." (Pope St. Pius X, "Our Apostolic Mandate", 1910 A.D.)

"For charity itself considered as such has no limit to its increase, since it is a participation of the infinite charity which is the Holy Ghost. In like manner the cause of the increase of charity, viz. God, is possessed of infinite power. Furthermore, on the part of its subject, no limit to this increase can be determined, because whenever charity increases, there is a corresponding increased ability to receive a further increase. It is therefore evident that it is not possible to fix any limits to the increase of charity in this life... The capacity of the rational creature is increased by charity, because the heart is enlarged thereby, according to 2 Corinthians 6:11: 'Our heart is enlarged'; so that it still remains capable of receiving a further increase." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"No sooner has one forgotten that the eternal salvation of our neighbor has to be our main concern for him, than the real love of neighbor becomes impossible. No sooner does one cease to understand that love of neighbor does not seek fulfillment of all his wishes, than this love becomes a weakness and a way of giving in. No sooner does one forget the words of St. Augustine, 'Interficere errorem, diligere errantem' ('kill the error, love him who errs'), than one loses all understanding for real love of neighbor. Love of neighbor can only be rightly understand that we live in a situation in which we are bound to reject all moral mistakes and even many non-moral disvalues, in which we have to struggle against error and evil - struggle against them with all our might - but in which love of neighbor extends even to him who errs, who is evil, even to whim who is the enemy of God." (Von Hildebrand)

"Augustine says (In primam canon Joannis Tractatus 5) 'As soon as charity is born it takes food,' which refers to beginners, 'after taking food, it waxes strong,' which refers to those who are progressing, 'and when it has become strong it is perfected,' which refers to the perfect. Therefore there are three degrees of charity... The spiritual increase of charity may be considered in respect of a certain likeness to the growth of the human body. For although this latter growth may be divided into many parts, yet it has certain fixed divisions according to those particular actions or pursuits to which man is brought by this same growth. Thus we speak of a man being an infant until he has the use of reason, after which we distinguish another state of man wherein he begins to speak and to use his reason, while there is again a third state, that of puberty when he begins to acquire the power of generation, and so on until he arrives at perfection. In like manner the divers degrees of charity are distinguished according to the different pursuits to which man is brought by the increase of charity. For at first it is incumbent on man to occupy himself chiefly with avoiding sin and resisting his concupiscences, which move him in opposition to charity: this concerns beginners, in whom charity has to be fed or fostered lest it be destroyed: in the second place man's chief pursuit is to aim at progress in good, and this is the pursuit of the proficient, whose chief aim is to strengthen their charity by adding to it: while man's third pursuit is to aim chiefly at union with and enjoyment of God: this belongs to the perfect who 'desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ.' In like manner we observe in local motion that at first there is withdrawal from one term, then approach to the other term, and thirdly, rest in this term." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Love / Charity (Catholic Life Reflections) | St. Francis of Assisi on Loving God | St. Francis of Assisi on Love of One's Enemies | Love for One's Neighbor / Good Works (Give & Take Reflections) | Good Works | Commandments | The Holy Eucharist & The Goodness and Love of God (Sacraments Reflections) | God's Love | God's Love / Jesus Christ | Love of God | Our Father's Love Reflections | Love of the Catholic Faith Reflections | Love (Topical Scripture)

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