St. Alphonsus Liguori – Charity Envieth Not May 12, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, reading, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
I hate it when I post it without a title. Having to do business a little differently these days.
Another really good excerpt from St. Alphonsus on the sin of envy, and its incompatibility with the Christian call to charity. From The Holy Eucharist, pp. 323-326 (only portions). My emphasis and comments:
St. Gregory explains this…..characteristic of charity in saying, that as charity despises all earthly greatness, it cannot possibly provoke her envy. “She envieth not, because, as she desireth nothing in this world, she cannot envy earthly prosperity.”
Hence we must distinguish two kinds of envy, one evil and the other holy. The evil kind is that which envies and repines at the worldly goods possessed by others on this earth. But holy envy, so far from wishing to be like, rather compassionates the great ones of the world, who live in the midst of honors and earthly pleasures. She seeks and desires God alone, and has no other aim besides that of loving Him as much as she can; and therefore she has a pious envy of those who love Him more than she does, for she would, if possible, surpass the very seraphim in loving Him……… [Which kind of envy do we hear spoken abroad today by high Church leadership? Do we not hear talk that stirs up envy between those who have less towards those who have more?]
……..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 that done all things well” (Mk viii:37). Many actions may in themselves be praiseworthy, but from being performed for some other purpose than for the glory of God, they are often of little or no value in His sight. St. Mary Magdalene of 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!……Oh, this accursed self-love, that makes us lose all or the greater part of the fruit of our good actions! How many in their most holy employments………labor and exert themselves very much, and gain little or nothing because they do not regard God alone, but worldly honor, or self-interest, or the vanity of making an appearance, or at least their own inclination! [Contemplate how much of the ostensible “good works” done in the Church have been done for a political aim, or for some kind of worldly recognition, in recent years. Grace adds to grace, but the opposite is also true, and the Church has been mired in a period of marked impiety with the absence of grace abounding almost palpable. The Church we have being the one the world has deserved, and all that…..]
…..He that works for his own gratification already receives his wages: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward” (Mt vi:5)…….
…….The following are the signs which indicate whether we work solely for God in any spiritual undertaking. One, if we are not disturbed at the failure of our plans, because when we see it is not God’s will, neither is it any longer our will. Two, if we rejoice at the good done by others, as heartily as if we ourselves had done it. Three, if we have no preference for one charge more than for another, but willingly accept that which obedience to superiors enjoins us. Four, if after our actions we do not seek the thanks or approbation of others, nor are in any way affected if we be found fault with or scolded, being satisfied with having pleased God. And if when the world applauds us we are not puffed up, but meet the vain glory, which might make itself felt, with the reply of the venerable John of Avila: “Get away, thou comest too late, for all has already been given to God.”
Oh good St. Alphonsus, you truly deserve your moniker as the Moral Doctor. What practical advice for holiness! Thank you so much, Lord, for sending Your Church such Saints. Please convert our hearts so that we may emulate them and draw nearer to you, through Your Grace, every day. Even then, we know that we shall be unprofitable servants, who have done no more than their duty, and only returned the gift they have received from You.