Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In this life charity is a way to God.

Charity is man's friendship with God based on man's share in the Divine Life, in the happiness of God Himself. But man cannot naturally share in God's own life. Man's participation in the Divine Life is a free supernatural gift which God gives to man. Charity then cannot be  acquired by any purely human effort. It is a gift of God infused in man's soul by God's goodness and generosity. Charity, like the other theological virtues, is a supernatural virtue infused in the will by God Himself. Who can give man a share in the Divine Love except God Himself?

Like all gifts it is measured by the generosity of the giver. God gives charity to men according to His own will.  Since charity is a free gift from God to man, no man can say that his own natural virtues or perfections demand a greater share in God's love than the virtues of other men. As St Paul says, "To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ" (Eph. IV, 7). The degree of charity - the love of friendship for God - depends not on man or his natural virtue but on God's generosity.

But as long as man is in the present world his friendship with God can increase. As long as man has not yet reached that ultimate union with God which is found in the vision of God, he can always approach nearer to God. In this life charity is a way to God. Hence a man's friendship with God can increase.