THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.
XXXII.-” CHARITY ENVIETH NOT “-HE THAT LOVES JESUS DOES NOT ENVY THE GREAT ONES OF THE WORLD, BUT ONLY THOSE WHO ARE GREATER LOVERS OF JESUS CHRIST.
And here we must remark that we must not only perform good works, but we must perform them well. In order that our works may be good and perfect, they must be done with the sole end of pleasing God. This was the admirable praise bestowed on Jesus Christ: He hath done all things well-(Mark vii. 37). Many actions may in themselves be praiseworthy, but from being performed for some purpose other than for the glory of God, they are of little or no value in His sight. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi said: “God rewards our actions by the weight of pure intention.” As much as to say that according as our intention is pure, so does the Lord accept of and reward our actions. But, O God, how difficult it is to find an action done solely for Thee! I remember a holy old man, a Religious, who had laboured much in the service of God, and died with the reputation of sanctity -how one day, as he cast a glance back at his past life, he said to me in a tone of sadness and fear: ” Woe is me! When I consider all the actions of my past life, I do not find one done entirely for God.” Oh, this accursed self-love that makes us lose all the greater part of the fruit of our good actions! How many in their most holy employments, as of preaching, hearing confessions, giving missions, labour and exert themselves very much, and gain little or nothing, because they do not regard God alone, but worldly honour, or self-interest, or the vanity of making an appearance, or at least their own inclination!
Our Lord has said: Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them; otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven -(Matt. vi. I). He that works for his own gratification already receives his wages: Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward-(Matt. vi. 5). But a reward indeed which dwindles into a little smoke, or the pleasure of a day that quickly vanishes, and confers no benefit on the soul. The Prophet Aggeus says that whoever labours for anything else but to please God puts his reward in a bag full of holes, which, when he comes to open, he finds entirely empty: And he that hath earned wages, put them into a bag with holes-(Agg. i. 6). And hence it is that such persons, in the event of their not gaining the object for which they entered on some underaking, are thrown into great trouble. This is a sign that they had not in view the glory of God alone: he that undertakes a thing solely for the glory of God is not troubled at all, though his undertakings may not be successful, for, by working with a pure intention, he has already gained his object, which was to please Almighty God.