Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The growth of the man's love for God in this life will start with the avoidance of sin.

WE might say that the growth of man's love for God in this life will start with the avoidance of sin, go on to the pursuit of good and end with the desire of union with God in heaven. The reckless youth who has been living a dissolute life falls in love with a good woman. First of all his love leads him to turn from his former irresponsible way of living. To gain the approval of his loved one he avoids his former dissolute companions. He struggles against his own intemperance. Then he begins to seek a good way of life. He settles down, goes to work, starts to save money. Finally he seeks union with his beloved in marriage. The story on man's love for God will follow the same path. When a man begins to love God, fist he seeks to avoid sin and the insidious power of concupiscence which would separate him from God. Then he begins to cultivate virtue, to work for happiness. Finally he desires to live with God always.
LOVE is also capable of decline. Purely human love can grow less and less until it perishes altogether. When a man begins to think less and less of his wife, to be less thoughtful of her welfare, to do fewer things to make her happy, then his love for her is failing. When he does something evil to her then his love ceases. Charity - man's love for God - can also fail, though not in precisely the same way. Charity will not fail simply because a man thinks less often of God. It will not even fail through venial sin. Venial sin is concerned only with the means that lead to the goal. It does not destroy man's basic tendency to God in charity. But mortal sin destroys charity completely. Charity is the love of God above all things. But in mortal sin man prefers some created things to God. Hence mortal sin drives charity out of the soul of man. In a certain sense venial sin cam lead to the loss of charity. Since all sin is not in accord with the will of God, the venial sinner is gradually disposing his will to give up God. Because he has not followed the will of God in all things, when some crisis arises in his life, he may give up God for some temporary created good.

credit: picture is by Rembrandt :'Good Samaritan arrives at the inn'