Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Essence of Charity

A couple of days ago I came across an extra-beautiful meditation in the book Divine Intimacy, which, as you may remember, I have posted about before.   This one is about the essence of love of God, and I thought it was pretty amazing.  Some of it could apply to human love as well, I think, tying in with that one post I wrote about true love.  But, leaving that aside, it's just lovely.  Read and see:

Meditation 255: The Act of Love
p. 762-763

"To love a person is to desire his well-being.  We understand, therefore, that the essence of love is in the act of the will by which we wish good.  This does not take away from the fact that the act may often be accompanied by sensible affection, making our love both an act of the will and of the sensibility.  Nevertheless, it is clear that the substance of real love is not to be found in the emotions but in the act of the will.  Charity does not change our manner of loving, but penetrates it, supernaturalizes it, making the will and the sensibility capable of loving God.  Yes, even sensible affection can be engaged in the act of supernatural love; God does not despise this humbler and less lofty manifestation of our love for Him, because He has commanded us to love Him not only with our whole mind and our whole soul, but also with our whole heart.  All our powers---intellectual, volitive, and affective---are engaged in the act of love, and yet the substance of this act is not found in the feelings but in the will.  Therefore, when our emotions are cold in our love of God, and we "feel" nothing, there is no reason for us to be disturbed; we will find less satisfaction in our love---for it is much more peasant for us to feel that we are loving---but our act of love will be equally true and perfect.  Even more, lacking the impetus and pleasure which come from our feelings, we will be obliged to apply ourself more resolutely to the act of the will and this, far from harming it, will make it more voluntary, and therefore, more meritorious.  Precisely because the substance of love is in the act of the will that wishes good to God, in order to make our love purer and more intense, Our Lord will often deprive us of all consoling feelings; we will no longer feel that we love God---and this will give us pain---but in reality, we will love Him in the measure that we will with determination what He wills, and want His good pleasure and delight above all things.  Besides, it is not [always] in our power to feel love but it is always in our power to make voluntary acts of love; it is always in our power to wish good to God, striving with all our strength to live for Him and to please Him."

Photograph by me, edited with Picmonkey.


  1. This is a beautiful reflection... and extraordinarily timely for me. I love how the Holy Spirit works through the blogging world. Thanks so much, and God bless!

    1. I must concur with Clare Ryan. I realized recently that I had grown cold in a manner of speaking; and I knew I had to grow warm again, even if my emotions remained seemingly dead. Fortunately, my sentimentality is easily aroused, when it wants to be, by certain words or actions, which often makes it easier to love, emotionally, my Christian heritage and, thus, God. But I have often heard that love is in the moments when the emotion isn't there, which has been a pillar that I cling to in my toughest moments.

  2. amazing! love it :)



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