in this letter I want to speak of a very important virtue, of which we can never speak enough: Charity.
What do we mean when we speak of charity? You intend to love someone with true love. But what is this true love that we have to practice on earth? Indeed we say that love has a triplex direction: the first one is that toward God; the second is that toward our neighbour; the third is that toward ourselves.
Today we speak only of the love toward God. Already in the Bible, and precisely in the book of the Deuteronomy, the love to God is suggested in these terms: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart” (Deut. 6:4-5). Also the Catechism of the Catholic Church underlines this matter with the following words: “God has created us to know him, to love him and to serve him in this life, for then to enjoy him in the other in Heaven.”
Therefore, the first duty of a creature, and above all of a Christian, is to love God. What must we do to love God, and to understand if we really do love him? St. John points out in the Gospel, putting these words on the lips of Jesus: “If you love Me you will observe my Commandments. Who welcomes my Commandments and observes them, these love me“(Jn 14:15 and 21). Therefore, to know if we really love God, we have to examine our life, and to see if we put his Commandments into practice. And that is: if we sanctify the feasts going to Mass on Sunday, if we don’t curse the name of God, if we honour our Parents and we don’t despise them, if we don’t hurt our neighbour but we assist him in his necessities, if our life is morally good, if we don’t steal, if we do our duty on the job, if we are faithful to our Vocation in the marriage, or to the consecration in the religious life: everything assures us that in our heart there is really the love to God. But to understand better if we love indeed the Lord, we also have to make two considerations.
The first one is this: are we determined to avoid in all ways any sin? Do we put all of our efforts to never sin? Are we determined not to commit some sin no matter how much it is in us? Here, if so it is, then we can say that we love indeed the Lord, and we honour him with our life. He who is determined to avoid every sin, he loves God indeed.
The second consideration is this: two people that are truly in love, continually thinks the one they love, they meet gladly every time that it is possible, they are in constant contact. God behaves really this way, because he has fallen in love indeed with us. In fact, on his behalf, even if we don’t realize it, he always thinks of us, he looks at us, he accompanies us, he is inside of us, he never abandons us, he participates in our worries, our pains, and helps us when we are in need. He is the only Being that sincerely truly loves us. We, how do we correspond to this love? As he loves us, so we should also love him. We should think of him many times during the day, to beg him, to invoke him, to try to avoid whatever sin so as not to offend him, to try everything to make him happy, so that he can say of us that he is happy to see that we love him. That’s a true correspondence of love toward Go! How many people on earth truly love God? Surely few, little. Perhaps among these we may be included.
There is then at times a wrong mentality in some Christians. One thinks that, if we love God, we are impoverished, because we cannot do what we want and like, or certain projects cannot be realized that are precious to us. You believe that God is contrary to the progress and to the liberty: such a thought is wrong entirely. In fact, if the progress exists, in whatever field, it is always worth of God, because it is Him that allows the man to have the intelligence and to use it. Man cannot do anything by himself. St. Paul says even that, without the strength of the Holy Spirit, we cannot move even a finger.
Let’s now consider one of the means that unite us in particular way to God: The prayer. It puts us in contact with God, and it makes us remember that on this earth we are of passage. In fact, there is granted only a determined number of days to earn merits or Heaven.
When we will die? We won’t have more even an instant to our disposition. Here is then a means to show our love to God, that is to use every instant of our life honouring him, adoring it, glorifying him, blessing him, and thanking him with everything of our heart. How fortunate will be he who will understand such importance! In fact he will earn so many merits for the eternal life.
The first duty of us Christians however is to love God as he has loved us, or rather generously, with fidelity and indifference, up to sacrifice our life, if it were necessary, as he did, allowing to be nailed on the cross for our salvation, and as so many Martyrs did. For love of God we have to be ready to whatever sacrifice and renouncement.. Instead, so many times, we are not able to not even make a sacrifice for his love, and above all to renounce the pleasures, above all illegitimate and sinful. If we have sometimes some sufferings, we immediately complain about there, or even we curse against God.
Let’s hold well in mind that if we will love God as the Bible suggests us, then we can enjoy him for the whole eternity. This is my wish for all of you.
I greet you all, and bless You of heart, while I am assuring my prayer.
Padre Luigi Duilio Graziotti