Presentation on theme: "Lecture XIV: The Virtue of Charity Spiritual Theology (THE 390) July 28, 2011."— Presentation transcript:
Lecture XIV: The Virtue of Charity Spiritual Theology (THE 390) July 28, 2011
The Virtue Itself Definition “a supernatural habit infused by God into the will, by which we love God for himself above all things, and ourselves and our neighbor for God” (Royo, 401). –material object – first God, then ourselves, then our neighbor –quod = God Himself –quo = Uncreated Goodness of God
»love for ourselves or another for any other motivation than the Goodness of God is not charity St. Thomas defines charity as “friendship with God.” Thus sanctifying grace is presumed and a mutual loving and being loved
–The nature of God as Charity »loving and being loved »perfect agape and perfect eros –The vocation of the human person as created as Imago Dei »to love and be loved
God infuses charity into a soul according to His pleasure Charity is the most imminent of the virtues, not only as it unites us with God, but also because it is the form of all the virtues –No other virtue can be perfected without charity
The Act of Charity and its Increase The will goes forth from itself to rest in God –act of intellect vs. act of will »intellect draws things to itself, ennobling things inferior to itself, limiting those things superior to itself
»will is drawn to the object of its love and becomes one with it, becoming base by loving what is base and becoming greater by loving what is above »St. Augustine: “If you love the earth, you are earthly; but if you love God, what must be said except that you are God?” (In Epist. Joan, tr. 2, n. 14).
»in this life it is more perfect to love God than to know Him. »Loving inferior things in God, through God and for God” changes all acts into gold (Royo, 403).
–Charity can increase indefinitely in this life »Charity is a movement toward God, and one can get closer to goal as long as he is a wayfarer »Since charity is a quality and not a quantity, it increases by greater radication in the subject, namely the will »An increase in charity is only possible by a more intense act of the habit
Remiss acts can paralyze the soul by preventing any growth in the intensity of charity and thus essential glory The grade of charity will not diminish by remiss acts, but the fervor of charity (zeal) does diminish. »Remiss acts have their corresponding accidental glory in heaven and serve to prevent complete loss of charity, but keep soul paralyzed and impedes the attainment of sanctity.
–Conclusions »“a single more intense act of charity is of greater value than countless remiss or lukewarm acts” devotion is more important than devotions »“a perfect just man is more pleasing to God than many imperfect and lukewarm men” God loves “effectively” producing love in a soul. Thus He loves the perfect soul more than the imperfect one.
»“The conversion of one sinner to lofty perfection is more pleasing to God and of greater glory to God than the conversion of many sinners to a lukewarm and imperfect life” »“A preacher and spiritual director is more pleasing to God if he converts a single sinner and leads him to Christian perfection than the one who converts many sinners but leaves them imperfect and lukewarm.”
the powerful work of the confessional and in spiritual direction thus should be appreciated even more than the more visible work of the dynamic preacher
The Objects of Charity The love of God causes us to love whatever pertains to God –love of God –love of self –love of neighbor
A single virtue of divine charity –“...the love of charity with which we love our neighbor is exactly the same charity with which we love God. There are not two charities but only one...” (Royo, 410). –Example of Mother Teresa and “You did it to Me” The love of self and love of the body –St. Francis and his “brother ass” The obligation to “not refuse to our enemies the benefits or signs of affection which are given to all neighbors in common” (Royo, 412).
The Effects of Charity Internal effects –spiritual joy – this can coalesce with sorrow this side of the Beatific Vision –peace – as the tranquility of order, charity bears fruit in a harmony in the appetites and desires –mercy – charity causes a union with our neighbor and thus a sharing in the sorrows of our neighbor
External effects –beneficence – doing external good acts to others –almsgiving – giving in their need –fraternal correction – difference between paternal correction and fraternal correction and the conditions of prudence and hope of amendment for the latter.
Sins Opposed to Charity Hatred – against charity directly Spiritual sloth – against joy Envy – against joy Discord (thoughts, between wills) Contention (words) Strive, schism or war (deeds)
The Gift of Wisdom “The gift of wisdom is a supernatural habit, inseparable from charity, by which we judge rightly concerning God and divine things through their ultimate and highest causes under a special instinct and movement of the Holy Ghost, who makes us taste these things by a certain connaturality and sympathy” (Royo, 418).
–Insofar as a judgment is presupposed, the gift of Wisdom resides in the intellect. –But since it has this judgment by a kind of connaturality with divine things, it has its cause in charity which resides in the will.
While other gifts perceive or judge things distinct from God, the gift of wisdom is primarily concerned with God himself and gives the soul an experiential knowledge of Him, causing joy and sweetness. –Such souls understand the psalm: “Taste and see how good the Lord is” (Ps. 33:9).
Types of Knowledge/Wisdom superficial knowledge – without knowing it through causes scientific knowledge – knowing a thing’s immediate or proximate causes philosophic knowledge – knowing a thing and deducing its ultimate natural cause theological knowledge – with light of faith and help of revealed data of revelation to deduce new conclusions supernatural wisdom – judges things through their ultimate causes by divine instinct of the Holy Spirit (highest wisdom in this life surpassed only by the beatific vision).
The Effects of Wisdom divine sense with which to judge all things –in all things they see the hand of God, passing quickly beyond secondary causes to arrive at the Supreme Cause –St. Aloysius Gonzaga: “Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?”
one lives the mysteries of faith divinely –the soul is as it were divinized and taken into the very heart of the Trinity. It contemplates all things from this divine center. –God contemplates all things in His Word. He shares this mode of knowing and seeing with His creature:
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10).
gives an ineffable union with the Trinity –the duties of one’s state or great sufferings do not detract or draw the soul from the divine company of the three Divine Persons –Mary and Martha are perfectly united here
charity is lived in a heroic fashion –human motivation and self- interest are purified from their love –the folly of love – even willing to go down to hell, if this were possible, to love God »St. Paul »St. Therese »Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
–because of this vision from God’s point of view, they see Christ is their neighbor, in the poor, and in those who suffer »Mother Teresa: “For me there is only one Jesus.” »John Paul II: “Matthew 25 is a page of Christology” perfects all the virtues –As charity is perfected, since it is form of all the virtues, all the virtues are perfected.
Beatitude and Fruits “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Mt. 5:9). Fruits: charity, spiritual joy, peace.
Means of Progress see and evaluate all things from God’s point of view –“Get behind me, Satan. You are judging as men and not as God.” combat the wisdom of this world –“If you are wise by this world’s standards, you best become a fool.”
detach completely from the things of this world –even from spiritual things and practices detach from spiritual consolations –“I have my ticket to heaven. I loved Jesus in the dark” (Mother Teresa).