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Life in Christ

449

1823

Jesus makes charity the

new commandment.

96

By loving his

own “to the end,”

97

he makes manifest the Father’s love which he

receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of

Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the

Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And

again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I

have loved you.”

98

1824

Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps

the

commandments

of God and his Christ: “Abide in my love. If

you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”

99

1825

Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “ene-

mies.”

100

The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our

enemies,

to

make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love

children and the poor as Christ himself.

101

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of

charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or

boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on

its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice

at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things,

believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

102

1826

“If I . . . have not charity,” says theApostle, “I amnothing.”

Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, “if I . . . have not

charity, I gain nothing.”

103

Charity is superior to all the virtues. It

is the first of the theological virtues: “So faith, hope, charity abide,

these three. But

the greatest of these is charity.

104

1827

The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by

charity, which “binds everything together in perfect harmony”;

105

it is the

form of the virtues;

it articulates and orders them among

themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice.

Charity upholds and purifies our human ability to love, and raises

it to the supernatural perfection of divine love.

96 Cf.

Jn

13:34.

97

Jn

13:1.

98

Jn

15:9, 12.

99

Jn

15:9-10; cf.

Mt

22:40;

Rom

13:8-10.

100

Rom

5:10.

101 Cf.

Mt

5:44;

Lk

10:27-37;

Mk

9:37;

Mt

25:40, 45.

102

1 Cor

13:4-7.

103

1 Cor

13:1-4.

104

1 Cor

13:13.

105

Col

3:14.

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