No one teaches us so well the real characteristics and practice of Charity as the great preacher of Charity, St. Paul. In his First Epistle to the Corinthians he says, in the first place, that without Charity man is nothing, and that nothing profits him: It I should have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing
The doctrine that all prayers and works performed in a state of sin are sins was condemned as heretical by the sacred Council of Trent. St. Bernard says that although prayer in the mouth of a sinner is devoid of beauty, as it is unaccompanied by charity, nevertheless it is useful and obtains grace to abandon sin…
Some one will, perhaps, say: “I am young. Later on I will give myself to God.” “How can you promise yourself another day,” says St. Augustine, “when you know not whether you shall live another hour?” “If,” says St. Teresa, “you are not prepared to die today, tremble lest you die an unhappy death.”
Our Lord said one day to St. Teresa: “Everything which does not give pleasure to Me is vanity,” Would that all understood well this great truth! “For the rest, one thing is necessary.” It is not necessary to be rich in this world, to gain the esteem of others, to lead a life of ease, to enjoy dignities, to have a reputation for learning: it is only necessary to love God and to do His will.
Our Blessed Lady told St. Bridget that she was the Mother not only of the just and innocent, but also of sinners, provided they were willing to repent. Oh, how prompt does a sinner who is desirous of amendment and flies to her feet find this good Mother to embrace and help him, far more so than any earthly mother! St. Gregory VII wrote in this sense to princess Matilda, saying: “Resolve to sin no more and I promise that undoubtedly thou wilt find Mary more ready to love thee than any earthly mother.”
There is nothing shorter than time, and yet nothing more valuable. There is nothing shorter, for the past is no more, the future is uncertain, the present only a moment. Jesus Christ said: A little time and now you shall not see me. We may say the same of our life which, according to St. James is a vapour which appeareth for a little while-(iv. 15).
“Love is a great thing,” says St. Bernard. A great thing, a precious thing is love. Solomon, speaking of the Divine wisdom, which is holy Charity. called it an infinite treasure; because he that possesses Charity is made partaker of the friendship of God: For she is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God-(Wisd. vii. 14).
Oh, that all would come to love Mary as did Charles, the son of St. Bridget, who said that nothing in the world consoled him so much as the knowledge that Mary was so greatly loved by God. And he added that he would willingly endure every torment rather than allow Mary to lose the smallest degree of her glory, were such a thing possible; and that if her glory were his, he would renounce it in her favour, as being far more worthy of it.
“Of all the combats in which we are engaged,” says St. Augustine, “the most severe are those of chastity: its battles are daily, but victory rare.” May God be ever praised, however, Who in Mary has given a great example of this virtue! And, O how powerful is the name of Mary in conquering all temptations against holy purity!
Jesus Christ as God has a claim on all our love; but by the love which He has shown us He wished to put us, so to speak, under the necessity of loving Him, at least in gratitude for all He has done and suffered for us. He has greatly loved us that we might love Him greatly.