Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Charity Part II
There were chaste embraces, tender affection, fraternal kisses, pleasant conversations, modest laughing, cheerful countenances, guileless eyes, humble spirits, peaceful words, gentle answers and proposals, ready compliance and willing hands. Indeed, since they despised all earthly things and never exclusively considered their own interests, they were filled with a love for everyone, freely giving themselves so that they might aid their brethren in every possible way.’
This is Franciscan charity that, according to the words of Saint John, turns community life into a paradise: ‘No one has ever seen God.’ But ‘if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.’
This is the charity which unites all of the brethren into one, thus fulfilling Our Divine Lord's prayer: ‘That all may be one!’ Franciscan charity is the supernatural bond uniting all in the one spirit of love. It is infinitely above all human love, yet it is the greatest human love. Our Seraphic Father urges us to espouse it by reminding us: ‘If a mother nourishes and loves her son according to the flesh, how much more diligently should one love and minister to his spiritual brother!’
Moreover, Seraphic love is the source of all Franciscan perfection, for, by means of it, God and our brothers are loved in the Holy Spirit. Hence Francis might say to us in all truth: ‘Love and this suffices!’ For he who truly loves God, his brothers, and all creatures in God, is perfectly poor. This is true because no one can love to such a degree unless he is detached from all things for God's sake, who must be loved completely and above all else.
He who possesses true love is likewise already chaste and obedient, enjoying full freedom of spirit. We say this because he who is desirous only of Infinite Love will not allow himself to be held back by any lower passion; he will not be shackled by any bond of creatures. Finally, the life of the Franciscan who loves truly is already filled with perfect joy, for this is the reward of love and the complete crucifixion of one's nature: by which he has actually arrived at Infinite Love – the highest joy and happiness.