Fraternal Charity

Here and in the next several posts, we shall read excerpts from Fraternal Charity by the Jesuit Father Benoit Valuy (1808-1869). Father Valuy wrote this short treatise for members of religious orders. However, as the translator notes, it may be of interest to others, for “love, the sunshine of existence, is wanted everywhere.” This English edition bears an imprimatur from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, dated 1908.

Father Valuy begins by stating: “Our Divine Saviour shows both by precept and example that His favourite virtue, His own and, in a certain sense, characteristic virtue, was charity. . . . How justly could He say, ‘Learn of Me, that I am meek and humble of heart.’ His yoke was sweet, His burden light, His conversation without sadness or bitterness. He lightened the burdens of those heavily laden; He consoled those in sorrow.”

“He calls us His friends, His brothers, His little flock; and as the greatest sign of friendship is to die for those we love, He gave to each of us the right to say with St. Paul: ‘He loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.'”

“Charity towards our neighbour is charity towards God in our neighbour, because, faith assuring us that God is our Father, Jesus Christ our Head, the Holy Ghost our sanctifier, it follows that to love our neighbour inasmuch as he is the well-beloved child of God, the member of Jesus Christ, and the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost is to love in a special manner our heavenly Father, His only-begotten Son, together with the Holy Spirit.”

“Thus it is that charity poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, uniting Christians among themselves and with the adorable Trinity whose images they are, is the vivid and perfect imitation of the love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for the Father—a substantial love which is no other than the Holy Ghost, and makes us all one in God by grace, as the Father and Son are only one God with the Holy Ghost by nature, according to the words of our Lord: ‘That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may be one in Us.'”

Quotations from Benoit Valuy, Fraternal Charity (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1908).

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