Loving Our Neighbor – Part 2 of 2

We ought to examine ourselves carefully as to the little things that are constantly happening, without making much account of certain high-flown ideas about the great things we mean to say and do for our neighbors, which sometimes come to us in prayer, but which are never put into execution. -St. Teresa

In order that her nuns might be sure whether their actions proceeded from the spirit of charity, St. Frances de Chantal kept inscribed upon the wall of a corridor through which they were constantly passing, a list of the distinguishing marks which the Apostle assigns to this sublime virtue: “Charity is patient, mild, without jealousy, without ambition, without self-interest, without aversions. It believes all, hopes for all, bears with all.” When any one in chapter accused herself of a fault against charity, she sent her to read these sentences, which she called the mirror of the convent. She often read them herself, in presence of her daughters; then, turning towards them with a glowing countenance, she would add: “Though I speak with the tongue of angels and have not charity, I am nothing; and though I give my body to torture and to fire, and have not charity, this profits me nothing.”

The blessed Angela di Foligno prayed to the Lord to give her some sign by which she might know whether she truly loved Him, and was loved by Him. “The clearest sign,” He answered, “of mutual love between Me and My servants, is that they love their neighbors.”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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