Charity: The Love of God

St. Jacob of Alaska

“Let the sowers of strife hear what is written: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.’ On the other hand, let them recognize that if those who make peace are called the ‘sons of God’, then those who confound it are the sons of Satan. Moreover, all those who separate themselves, through discord, from the lifeline of love will wither and die.[…] Therefore, let the sowers of strife consider the extent to which they sin. For when they perpetuate this particular sin, they also eradicate every virtue that they may have in their heart. For in this one evil, they beget many others, because by sowing strife they extinguish charity, which is the mother of all the virtues. And because nothing is more revered by God than the virtue of charity. Therefore, whoever destroys the charity of his neighbor by sowing strife acts as though he were in the service of God’s enemy. For he takes from their hearts this very virtue, which the devil lost before his fall, and he cuts them off from the path by which they might return.”   (St. Gregory the Great – d. 604AD, The Book of Pastoral Rule, pps.154-155)’

St. Gregory the Great
St. Gregory the Great

In these weeks of Great Lent we take note of the divine words of St. Gregory the Great: “nothing is more revered by God than the virtue of charity.”   While the ability to fast from food differs greatly from person to person, all of us can practice charity with neighbor and stranger.  We each are able to make it our Lenten effort to protect and preserve “the charity of our neighbor.”  We contribute to the lives of all when we live so as to enable our neighbor to be charitable.

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