Foreword, the following is from a noted Catholic work regarded as exceptional in teaching what the Church requires.  It is heavily biblical.  As it teaches that God gives you the power to love your neighbour and it is God you are using to do that that is why the command to love God totally and to love neighbour are really in a sense the same.  They are really about God.  You love your neighbour for how God expresses himself in the neighbour.  Naturally with such a doctrine, secularists and atheists are regarded as a great potential evil.  They may be admitted to be good but that can be compared to the goodness the frog feels as the pot of water it is in gets hotter and hotter.  Then suddenly it dies without warning. Atheists need to start linking god with the duty to love him and admit that the teaching logically threatens them and their place in society.  Note how it says the command to love all not just just those who love you is described by Jesus as a new commandment.  This accuses Jewish religion of being harmful and stupid.  It promises that those who love God are happier than those who have every material thing.  Yet we know pagans and atheists who are extremely happy.


The Best Work for Catechists and Teachers.  

SPIRAGO'S METHOD OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.   A Manual for Priests, Teachers, and Parents. Edited by the Right Rev. S. G. Messmer, D.D., D.C.L., Bishop of Green Bay.


4, The love of God is of great advantage to us: Through it we are united to God here on earth, our minds are enlightened, our will is strengthened; we obtain pardon of sin, peace of soul, manifold proofs of God's favor, and after death celestial joys.   As avarice is the root of all evil, so the holy love of God is the root of all that is good. It is compared to oil, or to fire, for like these it rises upward, it gives light and warmth; it softens and purifies. He who loves God is the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit; thus he is united to God. Through love God becomes present in our hearts as He is in heaven ; for Christ says : " If any man love Me, My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him " (John xiv. 23).

Love of God and sanctifying grace cannot be dissevered; where one is, there is the other. He who loves God enjoys heaven upon earth. " Hence," says St. Francis of Sales, " we should not be too anxious to discover whether we are pleasing to God, but rather whether God is pleasing to us." The man who loves God obtains through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost enlightenment of the mind, strengthening of the will, pardon of sin, and true peace of soul. Our soul is like a mirror, which reflects the object towards which it is turned. If therefore we direct it towards God, the light of His divinity will shine into our soul, which will have a clear perception, that is, of divine things. " In the love of God is honorable wisdom " (Ecclus. i. 14).


Whosoever loves God feels within him the divine presence, and this affords him greater satisfaction than all the pleasures of the world. Without charity there is no true peace. He who loves God enjoys true peace, because his will is in entire conformity to the will of God. ....

Through the love of God we attain the joys of heaven. St. Paul says : " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Cor. ii. 9). This is because he is rich in good works who is inflamed with divine charity, for love stimulates us to action. Hence the Apostle says: " The charity of Christ presses us " (2 Cor. v. 14). To behold God, as we shall in heaven, and to love Him is one and the same thing. We needs must love the highest when we see it. " He who knows by experience," says St. Alphonsus, " how sweet and delightful it is to love God, loses all taste for earthly things."  

The merit of our good works and the degree of our future felicity is in proportion to the magnitude of our love for God.   " The greater is our love of God," says St. Francis of Sales, " the more meritorious are our actions. God does not regard the greatness of the work, but the love wherewith it is performed."

  ...St. Francis of Assisi would repeat for whole days and nights the words : " My God and my all ! " It is all the more important to make acts of love because the command to love God imposes it upon us as an obligation. St. Alphonsus declares that he who for a whole month neglects this practice can scarcely be exempt from mortal sin. Our love should be without limit or measure, as is God Himself.   The love of God is lost by mortal sin.   As water extinguishes fire, so the love of God is quenched in our hearts by mortal sin. He who has thus lost the love of God has turned his mind away from God, and directed it wholly to creatures. Except sin, nothing has power to deprive us of the love of God. Thus St. Paul exclaims : " I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God" (Rom. viii. 38).      


 However cruel or depraved a man may be, his heart clings to some person or thing, his nature impels him to love some object. If he does not love God above all, he needs must love a creature above all.  

1. The love of the world consists in loving, above all, money, or the gratification of one's appetite, or earthly honors or any thing else in the world, instead of giving the first place to God.   The love of creatures is not in itself sinful, only when the creature is more loved than the Creator. All who love creatures more than God are idolaters, because they give to creatures the honor due to God. One loves money, like Judas; another eating and drinking, like Dives ; and many others whose god is their belly ; a third sacrifices all to ambition, like Absalom ; others have an inordinate love of amusements, gambling and the like. All these resemble the Jews who danced round the golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai. The maxim of the man of the world is : " Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we die." The love of the world is worse than high treason; it makes a man a traitor to the King of kings.  

2. Through love of the world we incur the loss of sanctifying grace, and eternal felicity.   The lover of the world does not possess sanctifying grace. As the dove does not rest upon anything that is unclean or corrupt, so   the Holy Spirit does not dwell in the soul of the carnally-minded and evil (St. Ambrose). The Holy of holies cannot dwell in the soul that is stained with sin. " If thy heart be full of vinegar, how can it be filled with honey? It must first be emptied, and undergo a toil some process of cleansing," says St. Augustine. He who is destitute of the presence of the Holy Spirit, that is, of sanctifying grace (the wedding-garment), shall be cast into exterior darkness (Matt. xxii. 12). Hence Christ threatens the votary of the world with eternal damnation : " He that loveth his life (who endeavors to get out of it all possible enjoyment) shall lose it" (John xii. 25). Again, "Woe to you that are filled, for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep " (Luke vi. 25). No more than a ship lying fast at anchor can sail into harbor, can a man who loves the world reach the haven of eternal felicity. " Which dost thou prefer ? " asks St. Augustine, " to love the world and go to perdition, or to love Christ and enter into life everlasting ? " He is a fool who for the sake of this passing world plays away eternal life.  

3. The love of the world blinds the soul of man, and leads him away from God.   The love of the world blinds the soul of man. ...As the sun s rays cannot penetrate muddy water, so the lover of the world cannot be enlightened by the Holy Spirit... (Luke xiv. 16).  

4. The love of the world destroys interior peace, and makes men fear death greatly.   The worldling is a stranger to interior peace. It has been well said: A man must choose between indulgence of the senses and tranquillity of soul. The two are not compatible. One might as well try to fill a vessel that has holes in it, as to satisfy the heart that only strives after the pleasures of time and sense. And since the votaries of the world can never attain interior peace, they want a constant change of amusement, as one who cannot sleep turns restlessly from side to side in the hope of finding rest. Christ alone can give us true content. He said to His apostles : " Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you ; not as the world giveth do I give unto you" (John xiv. 27). St. Augustine exclaims: "Our heart has no rest until it rest in Thee, O Lord ! " The lover of the world fears death so much, because he will be parted from his idol, and because death will put an end to the happiness he makes it his object to attain. He has, besides, an inward presentiment of what will follow after death. On account of this all who love the world are filled with apprehension and even despair in the hour of death. The prisoner fears nothing so much as the summons to appear before the judge; and the sinner, though he is never free from alarm, dreads the moment above all when his soul will leave the body and enter the presence of her divine Judge (St. John Chrysostom). The fish that is caught on the hook scarcely feels pain until it is drawn out of the water ; so those who are entangled in the meshes of the world first feel real anguish when their last hour comes. Think, O worldling, if the joys which the devil offers you are thus mixed with bitterness, what will the torments be which he prepares for you hereafter?  

5. The love of the world gives rise to hatred of God and of His servants.   A man who loves the world cannot possibly have the love of God within him. Just as a ring which encircles one finger cannot at the same time encircle another, so the human heart cannot love God if love binds it to some earthly object. St. John says : " If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him" (1 John ii. 15), We cannot look with the same eye both at heaven and earth at the same time. The lover of the world even goes so far as to hate God and divine things. Thus Christ says : " No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will sustain the one and despise the other " (Matt. vi. 24) . What are we to conclude if we hear any one rail at priests and at religion ? The lover of the world is therefore the enemy of God. " If thou wouldst not be the enemy of God," says St. Augustine, " be an enemy of the world."  

6. The love of the world ceases at death.   There are many things which thou canst only love for a time ...


Every human being is our neighbor, without distinction of religion, of race, of age, of sex, or of occupation.   In the parable of the Good Samaritan Christ teaches us that those who are strangers to us and even our enemies, are to be regarded as our neighbor. In the present day some people are so foolish as to consider none but their fellow-countrymen as their neighbors. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, but all are one (Gal. iii. 28).  

1. We ought to love our neighbor because this is Christ's command; furthermore because he is a child of God, made after His image, and also because we are all descended from the same parents and we are all called to attain eternal felicity.   Christ's precept is this : " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self " (Mark xii. 31). He who loves the father will assuredly love his children (1 John v. 1). Now God is our common father, for He created us (Matt. ii. 10), we are all His children, and for that reason we ought to love one another. Those who are the offspring of one and the same parent are blood-relations; consequently since we all received our being from the self-same God, we stand in the relation of brethren one to another, and on this account ought to love one another. A man who loves his father shows respect for his portrait. Now, our fellow-man is an image of God; he was made to His image (Gen. i. 27) ; consequently we ought to love him. As the moon derives its light from the sun, so the love of our neighbor flows from the love of God. We are, moreover, all children of Adam, and thus members of one great family, and should love one another as such. Finally, we are called to the attainment of everlasting felicity ; we shall all live together, we shall behold the face of God and sing His praises together. St. John says in the Apocalypse: "I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb" (Apoc. vii. 9). Now we find that on earth persons who follow the same calling, such as priests, teachers, etc., always hold together. So we, who share the same vocation to heaven with our fellow-men, ought to be united to them in the bond of charity.  

2. The love of our neighbor shows itself in desiring the good of our neighbor from our heart; in abstaining from injuring him, and in doing him good.   The love of our neighbor does not consist merely in affectionate sentiments, in benevolent wishes; these would profit him little. ....

3. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we are by no means obliged to love him better than ourselves.   Our Lord says : " Whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them" (Matt. vii. 12). Holy Tobias says: " See that thou never do to another what thou wouldst hate to have done to thee" (Tob. iv. 16). Put yourself in your neighbor's place and you will certainly treat him differently. Charity to one's neighbor has its limits, however. No one is bound to deprive himself of what is necessary, to relieve his neighbor's wants. In such cases to render assistance is heroic charity. " Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friend" (John xv. 13). This Our Saviour did; and hundreds of missioners continually expose themselves to the risk of death to save souls. All the saints have incurred personal dangers for the sake of aiding others.

4. All that we do to our neighbor, whether it be good or evil, we do to Christ Himself; for He has said: " What you did to one of these My least brethren, ye did it to Me " (Matt. xxv. 40).   To Saul, when he was on the way to Damascus, Our Lord said: " Why persecutes! thou Me ? " (Acts ix. 4.) Yet we know that it was only the Christians that he was persecuting. When St. Martin had given half his cloak to a half-naked beggar at the gate of Amiens, Christ appeared to him in a dream wearing the half-cloak and accompanied by angels. " Martin," He said, " clothed Me to-day with this cloak." Thus God protects our neighbor; we cannot injure him without first injuring God.   ...

Our Lord says: "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another" (John xiii. 35)....

Our Lord calls this a new commandment (John xiii. 34), because the precept of charity to one's neighbor was not understood earlier in the sense He gives to it. Well indeed were it for the world if charity prevailed everywhere! No laws would be needed, no courts of justice, no punishments. Then no man would wrong his neighbor; the very name of murders, brawls, rebellion, robbery and the like, would be unknown. There would be no destitution, for every one would have the necessaries of life (St. John Chrysostom).  


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