Do I Really Love God?

Father Cassilly writes: “We need not be distressed by uncertainty whether we love God, for Christ Himself has given us the criterion. At the Last Supper He said to His Apostles: ‘He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me’ (John 14:21). The beloved disciple also tells us that whoever keepeth Christ’s word, ‘in him in very deed the charity of God is perfected; and by this we know that we are in Him’ (1 John 2:5). If we keep God’s law we love Him.”

“They who imagine that charity consists in performing great and marvellous deeds, in long prayers, in constant fasting and penance, in working miracles, in eloquent preaching or lonely vigils, may possibly find themselves mistaken. Without the observance of the commandments these will amount to nothing.”

“Plodding along faithfully day after day at our appointed tasks, howsoever humble they may be, unseen and unnoticed of men, we may attain to a high degree of sanctity. St. Joseph spent his life at the carpenter’s bench, chiseling and planing and sawing; not one spoken word of his has been deemed worthy of record in the Scriptures, and yet which of the saints equals him in glory? St. Rita was but a servant maid. Bernadette Soubiroux, a little peasant girl, was gathering sticks for firewood when Our Lady appeared to her in the grotto at Lourdes and spoke the memorable words, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception.’ St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, the Jesuit lay-brother, worked out his sanctification mainly by saying his beads and answering the college door bell. It is not the work we do or position we hold, that makes us acceptable to God, but the spirit of fidelity we put into it.”

“Men label occupations great or lowly, rating them by their scale of dignity; God has no such standard. He passes by the exterior nature of the work done, and views the interior disposition with which it is performed. Men are often not responsible for what tasks they are set to do. Some are placed as electric lights upon the mountains, others are but rush lights in the valley; some are in command of armies, and others must serve in the trenches or take charge of the accoutrements. But one and all will be recompensed not for what they did, so much as for the spirit of fidelity and zeal with which they served.”

“Charity is the informing principle of all other virtues; without it no other virtue is meritorious of eternal reward, and with it all our actions may be minted into the golden coin of heaven.”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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