"Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them."

St Philip Neri

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"A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"It is well to choose some one good devotion, and to stick to it, and never to abandon it."

St Philip Neri

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 St Augustine   (354-430A.D.)   Father and Doctor of the Church
Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II

 
  ENCHIRIDION ON FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE
   

By St Augustine

 

Ch 32. The End of All the Law

   
121. All the divine precepts are, therefore, referred back to love, of which the apostle says, "Now the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience and a faith unfeigned."(259) Thus every commandment harks back to love. For whatever one does either in fear of punishment or from some carnal impulse, so that it does not measure up to the standard of love which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts--whatever it is, it is not yet done as it should be, although it may seem to be.

Love, in this context, of course includes both the love of God and the love of our neighbor and, indeed, "on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets"(260) --and, we may add, the gospel and the apostles, for from nowhere else comes the voice, "The end of the commandment is love,"(261) and, "God is love."(262)

Therefore, whatsoever things God commands (and one of these is, "Thou shalt not commit adultery"(263) ) and whatsoever things are not positively ordered but are strongly advised as good spiritual counsel (and one of these is, "It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman"(264) )--all of these imperatives are rightly obeyed only when they are measured by the standard of our love of God and our love of our neighbor in God [propter Deum]. This applies both in the present age and in the world to come. Now we love God in faith; then, at sight. For, though mortal men ourselves, we do not know the hearts of mortal men.

But then "the Lord will illuminate the hidden things in the darkness and will make manifest the cogitations of the heart; and then shall each one have his praise from God"(265) --for what will be praised and loved in a neighbor by his neighbor is just that which, lest it remain hidden, God himself will bring to light. Moreover, passion decreases as love increases(266) until love comes at last to that fullness which cannot be surpassed, "for greater love than this no one has, that a man lay down his life for his friends."(267) Who, then, can explain how great the power of love will be, when there will be no passion [cupiditas] for it to restrain or overcome? For, then, the supreme state of true health [summa sanitas] will have been reached, when the struggle with death shall be no more.

 

Ch 33. Conclusion

 
122. But somewhere this book must have an end. You can see for yourself whether you should call it an Enchiridion, or use it as one. But since I have judged that your zeal in Christ ought not to be spurned and since I believe and hope for good things for you through the help of our Redeemer, and since I love you greatly as one of the members of his body, I have written this book for you--may its usefulness match its prolixity!--on Faith, Hope, and Love.
 
 

   
 
259. ITim. 1:5.
260. Matt. 22:40.
261. 1Tim. 1:5.
262. I John 4:16.
263. Ex. 20:14; Matt. 5:27; etc.
264. I Cor. 7:1.
265. I Cor. 4:5.
266.  Minuitur autem cupiditas caritate crescente.
267. John 15:23.