Her Doctrine and Morals

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

1 October 2017


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Dear Friends,

The greatest commandment is that of Charity. We are called upon to love God with our entire being and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It is imperative, then, that we hold on to this virtue of charity at all cost. It is the greatest of gifts that we have received. It is our greatest possession. Without charity we have nothing. In losing charity, we lose God. God is everything and so in losing Him we lose everything.

The snares of the evil ones are most cleverly deceptive. They generally do not assault love directly. When we consider the life Job, we find that deep within his soul was a deep and lasting charity. This is something that only God could see. Job's fellow men did not see it, and neither did the devils. God, was willing to expose this charity for the humiliation of the devils, but more importantly for our own instruction.

The devils begin with us, as they did with Job. They inspire some poor soul to assault us in our possessions. With Job it was his crops, his flocks, his buildings and properties, his family and even his friends. Seldom is it necessary for the devils to go to this extreme with us. (Our Charity is not that strong and God has mercy upon our weaknesses.) With us, the devils inspire someone to assault our character or reputation, or to take some material thing from us. Usually, not everything but, just enough to turn us against our neighbor. While we struggle to hold onto or regain some trivial thing, we lose the most important thing — charity. The devils do not care if we have riches, reputation, peace, or any other material or passing worldly good. They are not out to destroy or take these away from us. They seek to give or take these things from us to obtain a much greater evil. The ultimate goal is to rob us of the virtue of charity.

The devils will even promise us worldly success and advantages in exchange for emptying our souls of its most precious treasure — charity. The great men of this world, the powerful and influential men of this world are most often found to lacking in this greatest of virtues. The rich of this world often reach this station through the abuse of their fellow men. They have paid a very high price for their "wealth" or their "success." In fact, they have paid the ultimate price. They have exchanged charity for these empty and passing pleasures of this world. In losing charity, they have lost God, they have lost Heaven — they have lost everything.

Truly, there is woe for the rich, powerful and influential people in this life. These often are the most unhappy souls we may meet in this life. Their lives are filled with agitation, suspicion, jealousy, worry. True, peace and happiness are far from them. Our Lord instructs us that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We need not fear if we find ourselves with abundant material things in this life as long as we hold firmly onto the virtue of charity. What is impossible to men is made possible with God. It was not impossible for Job to be rich in the things of this world and still love God. The Church lists many kings and queens in Her roster of Saints.

It is not the having or not having of the things of this earth that are important. The imperative thing for us, now and in eternity, is to possess charity. We must never allow love to grow cold. We must work to fan the flames of true love in our souls. When we are harmed in any way by our fellow men in this life, let us love them all the more. These "enemies," are our greatest aid in following Christ. When they take from us, let us offer them our forgiveness and pray for them, as Jesus has done for us. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." Let us bless and not curse. We must be willing to let go and even to give away all our worldly possessions, but never let our charity to grow cold, much less to let it die or be taken away from us.

Even when we have nothing else to give or share with our fellow man, we always have our love to offer. In giving our love to God and through Him loving each other, we lose nothing. Our supply of charity is not lessened but, on the contrary, it is increased and multiplied. From the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, we discover that it is true: "It is in giving that we receive." The peace and the joy that enters our hearts in giving and aiding our fellow men with the abundance, and even the scarcity, of our material goods cannot compare to the true and eternal happiness that is ours when we give them true and unfeigned love. Let us no longer ask, what others can do for us, but let us from this point forward, always ask what we may lovingly do for others.

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