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Fraternal charity necessary for salvation July 26, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, reading, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

Want to go to Heaven?  Then love they neighbor. From Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of Mary Magdalen, day 257 Fraternal Charity:

Jesus has given us as the foundation of all law, not only the precept of the love of God, “the greatest and first commandment,” but also the precept of the love of neighbor, and He expressly said that it is “like” to the first (Mt 22:38-39). That the precept of the love of God should be the basis of all Christian life is easy to understand, but it is not so easy to see that the same holds true of the precept of fraternal charity. However, Jesus bound these two commandments so closely that the one cannot subsist without the other. He did not say that all is based on the first commandment, that of love of God, but “on these two commandments [the love of God and of neighbor] dependeth the whole law and the prophets” (Mt 22:40)……..

……..God is so insistent upon being loved in the neighbor that He makes this love the essential condition of our eternal salvation. When Jesus speaks to us of the last judgment, He gives no other reason for the justification of the good and the comdemnation of the wicked than the doing of, or omission of, the works of mercy toward our neighbor. “Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Why? “For I was hungry, and you gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me to drink…” (Mt 25:34-35). I was hungry in the poor, I thirsted in your neighbor. If it is very consoling to know that God considers works of charity done to our neighbor as if done to Himself, and rewards them as such, it is a matter of serious reflection to know that He also considers failures in charity toward our neighbor as if done to Himself,  and so will punish them accordingly. Jesus, who is the personification of the goodness and infinite mercy of our heavenly Father, does not hesitate to pronounce the sentence of eternal damnation against those who have not loved, or helped, or consoled their neighbor. Why? Because: “Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to Me” (Mt 25:45). God requires  the concrete proof of our love for Him to be shown in the way we behave toward our neighbor. We cannot delude ourselves into thinking that we love God if we do not love our fellow men, who, like us, are the living images of our heavenly Father. What difference does it make if this image is sometimes disfigured by faults, by sin, or even by vices? It always remains the image of God which charity ought to make us recognize, venerate, and love in every man, regardless of his condition. We cannot be satisfied with an idealistic love for God. Our love must be realistic and actualized in our dealings with our neighbor: this is the unfailing proof of our love for God.

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This is a virtue I really need to strive to develop more and more.  When people attack us or our interests, the inclination is frequently to attack back.  And while a certain defense may be prudent and necessary in justice, charity must dominate all our interactions with others. In that regard, I fail far too frequently.

I think above also indicates, perhaps, what Pope Francis has been trying to say with regard to the active virtues, but perhaps with less clarity and specificity.  Then again, charity can also be very profoundly – even most profoundly – in the passive or supernatural virtues.

But as always with Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, much to meditate on.


1. Marie Dean (@fountainshall1) - July 26, 2013

Start with the elderly and those who are alone-as Mother Teresa said, the real poverty is not physical but being ignored and marginalized. The old and alone are unseen by most Catholics who do not reach out to them at all.

2. Frank - July 27, 2013

Using the word charity towards one’s neighbor seemsmore appropriate. Love is misunderstood and overused so much today that it give the impression of syrupy fellowship. True charity is desiring the good of another’s soul. This is sometimes much harder to accomplish than providing material sustenance, although that is important as well. If a Carmelite nun is practicing the spiritual works of mercy and a Catholic social worker the corporal works of mercy, is one pleasing to the Lord’s and the other not? We are all called to practice different works of mercy at different times in our lives. As simple as a parent passing on the faith to one’s children in this depraved society is just as pleasing to the Lord as feeding the multitudes.

3. Elena - July 27, 2013

Any thoughts on this? A Catholic man is married to a Jewish woman and are raising their daughter in the Jewish faith. This man is an exemplary father in providing for his daughter’s education and cultural development. He is taking care of her physical needs but what of her spiritual needs? Sometimes the spiritual trumps the corporal works of mercy in some cases.

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