"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68


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Friday of the Third week of Lent
Commentary of the day
Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church
On love for creatures – Spiritual discourses

True love

There are certain kinds of love that appear to be extremely great and perfect in the eyes of creatures but which, before God, are small and of no value. The reason for this is that these friendships are not founded at all on true charity, which is directed towards God, but only on certain agreements and natural inclinations.

There are others, to the contrary, that seem extremely slight and empty in the world’s eyes but which, before God, are full and most excellent because they are made only for God and in God without interference of our own interest. The acts of charity that we perform towards those whom we love in this way are a thousand times more perfect insofar as all is purely for God, but the services and other forms of help we offer those we love by inclination are of much less merit in view of the great complacency and satisfaction we have in doing them and because, generally speaking, we do them more through this movement than for love of God.

There is yet another reason that makes those first friendships we have spoken about less than the latter: it is that they do not endure since, as their cause is so weak, no sooner does some contradiction arise than they start to become cold and change. This does not happen to those that are only in God because in this their cause is solid and permanent.

Signs of friendship that we make contrary to our own inclination towards people to whom we have an antipathy are better and more pleasing to God than those we make drawn by sensible affections. And this should not be called duplicity or dissimulation since, if I have a contrary feeling, it is only in the lower part and the acts that I make are made with the force of reason, which is the principal part of my soul.

Thus those who have nothing loveable about them are happy because the love one bears towards them is excellent since it is in God.

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