THE THREE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES EXPOUNDED.
SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
A. To esteem, love, praise, and obey God above all things, so that it is the greatest or strongest affection of the soul, so as to prefer his honor, good, and will, to our own, or any other's. Again, charity loves God upon his own account, and for his own great perfections, because it is a love of perfect friendship, which immediately regards the good of the object that is loved, and not barely a love of concupiscence, which regards the good of the lover, which is only the secondary object of charity; so that charity has two arms, one regards God immediately, the other ourselves, which is likewise loving God, because it is obeying God's will to love, or wish the greatest good to ourselves. Hence, the Quietists are condemned, who pretend that true charity excludes the secondary object, and ought to make us indifferent to our own chiefest good, and exclude all other motives, even salvation, which they take to be a mercenary motive. Charity, indeed, as St. Paul says, seeks not its own interest; i Cor. xiii. 5. But this is to be understood either with regard to temporal goods, or with regard to the primary object, but not exclusively of it. The Scripture every where recommending God to be loved and served as our reward.
Q. Is charity necessary to salvation?
A. Yes, most certainly; for our Saviour says, he that loves not, remains in death; 1 John iii. 14. And St. Paul says, that if we distribute all our substance to feed the poor, and deliver up our bodies so as to be burnt, and have not charity, it will avail us nothing; 1 Cor. xiii. 3.
Q. Who are they who have true charity ?
A. They only who are so affected, as would rather die, and lose all that is most dear to them, than break any of God's commandments: this is the love of God, says St. John, that we keep his commandments; 1 John v. 3. O that all could truly say with the Apostle, who shall separate us from the love of Christ, etc. ? Rom. viii. 25. But alas! all seek the things that are their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's; Phil. ii. 21.
Q. What are the effects of perfect charity, and how is charity lost?
A. It remits sins: charity, says St. James, covers a multitude of sins, chapter v. 20. It gives spiritual life to the soul; we know, says St. John, that we are translated from death to life, because we love the brethren; 1 John iv. 14. It renders man acceptable to God, for he that abides in love, abides in God, and God in him; 1 John iv. 16. Charity is lost by breaking any of God's commandments in any weighty matter. If you love me keep my commandments ; St. John xiv. 14.
Q. Which are the acts of charity ?
A. Some are interior, viz.: A love towards the object, to wish it all good. Joy, when good happens to it. Peace, by laboring to procure, and join in doing good. Compassion, by being moved with its evil, as if it were our own. Other acts are exterior, viz.: Not only acts of benevolence, but of beneficence, viz.: Actually to assist in procuring his good, both spiritual by prayer, good example, instruction, etc., as also the good of his body by alms, etc.
Q. What is alms ?
A. It is an act of mercy, or compassion, whereby, for the love of God, we relieve our neighbor in all his wants, both corporal and spiritual.
Q. Which are the corporal alms, or works of mercy ?
A. These seven: 1. To feed the hungry. 2. To give drink to the thirsty. 3. To clothe the naked; St. Matt. xxv. 35, 36. 4. To harbor the poor with lodging. 5. To visit the sick and imprisoned. 6. To redeem the captives, and pay the debts of others. 7. To bury the dead, St. Matt. xxvi. 10-
Q. Which are the spiritual alms, or works of mercy, and how many ?
A. Seven, viz. 1. To give good advice, or counsel to the doubtful, Job xxix. 21. 2. To correct or admonish those who do amiss Gal. vi. 1. 3 To instruct the ignorant; Prov. x v - 33- 4- To comfort the afflicted; Rom. xii. 17. 5. To forgive injuries and offence; 2 Cor. i. 4. 6. To bear patiently person's ill humors; James v. 16. 7. To pray for the living and the dead, and for our persecutors; Mattv. 44.
Q. When is it that a work of mercy is most meritorious ?
A. When it is really done for God's sake, and applied to the person that stands most in need of it.
Q. What are the offences we ought to forgive ?
A. All offences and injuries, let them be never so great, or many; St. Matt, xviii. 21, 22.
Q. What is the reward of the works of mercy?
A. Mercy from God in this life, and the kingdom of heaven in the next.
Q. What shall be the lot of those who are hard-hearted to the poor ?
A. God himself affirms, that judgment without mercy, and the everlasting fire of hell, are allotted to those who show no mercy to persons in distress; St. Matthew xxv. 41, etc.