Charity – Sixteenth Day of November
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart. This is the greatest and the first commandment,
and the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” — St. Matt. 22:38
Charity to our neighbor is a sign of predestination, because it shows we are true disciples of Jesus Christ. This divine virtue it was which caused Jesus Christ to lead a life of poverty and to die naked on a cross. For this reason whenever we find an occasion to do something for charity, we should thank God. — St. Vincent de Paul.
There was at one time a very learned man named Eulogius, whose delight was the study of the sciences. God touched his heart with grace so that he saw the nothingness of all earthly pursuits, and resolved to consecrate himself entirely to the service of God. He distributed all he possessed to the poor, and then asked of Our Lord what manner of life He wished him to embrace. Our Lord made known to him his work. One day, when finding himself in a public street, he saw a leper without hands or feet. Touched with compassion, he promised Our Lord that he would take care of him, and provide all that was necessary for him during the rest of his life, hoping by so doing to obtain mercy from God for himself. He took him to his home, and for fifteen years devoted himself to his service. After these years had passed, the leper, who was at first penetrated with thankfulness, became ungrateful. He reproached his benefactor in the vilest manner, saying, “You must have committed a great number of terrible crimes, since you are condemned to such a penance. I will no longer stay with you; bring me to the place in which you found me. The generosity of the rich will furnish enough for my wants, besides, I shall see those who pass by.” Eulogius suffered much in hearing all this; but far from becoming impatient, he redoubled his care and begged Our Saviour to change the heart of the poor leper who had become dear to him. Never did miser fear more to lose his treasures than did Eulogius fear to be separated from his leper. At last, it occurred to him to take him to St. Antony for advice. St. Antony showed the poor man how Providence had cared for him, how blind had been not to see all God had done for him, and also the unworthiness of his conduct. He told them that this had been a temptation, and that they had but a short time to live. “You have but a short time to bear patiently with each other,” he said to them. “Would you, for the forty days you still have to live on this earth, be separated and lose the crown which awaits you?” At these words the leper was tempted no more. Eulogius was comforted; they returned together to their home, ceasing not to bless God. When the time arrived, the prophecy of the saint was fulfilled. Both died the same day, Eulogius departing first. What an abundant reward was before him!
My God, it is for Thee that I will do all the services I can for my neighbor. I will think myself happy to suffer something for him.