The Extent of Fraternal Charity

From my reading, my daily portion, after Mass today:

If charity were based on our neighbor’s qualities, on his merits or his worth, if it were based on the consolation and benefits we receive from him, it would be impossible to extend it to all men.  But since it is founded on the neighbor’s relation to God, no one can be legitimately excluded from it, because we all belong to God – we are, in fact, His creatures, and, at least by vocation, His children, redeemed by the Blood of Christ and called to live in “fellowship” with God (cf. 1 Jn 1,3) by grace here on earth and by the beatific vision in heaven.  Even if some, by their sins, have become unworthy of God’s grace, as long as they live they are capable of being converted and of being re-admitted to loving intimacy with their heavenly Father.


From Divine Intimacy #260, p. 757

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. JohnE says:

    …even those tormentors at WYD. Sometimes difficult to remember that God loved them into existence too.

  2. benedetta says:

    There is a palpable hunger for the beauty and goodness for God and it is observable everywhere.

  3. tealady24 says:

    I glean so much from Divine Intimacy every day! It makes you think, doesn’t it, that as long as we live, no matter who we are or what someone has done to us, there is always room for conversion.
    Who are we to judge?

  4. Geoffrey says:

    I’ve been reading from “Divine Intimacy” daily for years, and will continue to do so until I no longer draw breath. Amazing book.

  5. JuliB says:

    These words are hard, but to whom else will we go?

  6. quovadis7 says:

    “Even if some, by their sins, have become unworthy of God’s grace, as long as they live they are capable of being converted and of being re-admitted to loving intimacy with their heavenly Father.”


    Up until a couple of years ago, I was 100% on-board with this conclusion in the Divine Intimacy.

    However, when I started studying more and more of traditional Catholic teaching (and I do, myself, read the Divine Intimacy almost every day), I’m not so certain anymore….

    Catholic apologist, John Salza, points out in his book “The Mystery of Predestination” on pg. 135 that “As St. Thomas teaches, when God withholds His grace as a punishment for sin, ‘God is the cause of spiritual blindness, deafness of ear, and hardness of heart.’ ” (footnote #51 – ST, Pt I-II, Q79, Art 3).

    This seems to be clearly supported by Scripture, e.g. in Exodus 9:12 (when God, Himself, hardened Phaorah’s heart), and in John 12:40, to name just a couple of passages (and there are MANY more).

    A good friend of mine from our FSSP parish also tells me that St. Alphonsus Liguori, in at least one of his sermons, also taught the very same thing as St. Thomas Aquinas.

    However, the new Catechism (in paragraphs #30 & #1608) seems to support the conclusion/quote above in the Divine Intimacy. So, there is a definitive disconnect between what these two prominent Doctors of the Church taught, what is in the current Catechism, and what many/most Catholics believe today….

    Of course, only God knows if there are any souls He has hardened who are in a state of Mortal sin, and which ones are somehow still capable of responding to His Grace. So, I think that we always have an obligation to promote the Gospel to all, no matter what.

    It just seems to me that – in believing that God is somehow “obligated” to never completely withhold His Grace from those spiritually blinded and hardened in their obstinate, grave, Mortal sins – this line of thinking has allowed for a tendency to develop in allowing Catholics to diminish the utter horror we should have for ALL sins, even venial sins.

    Believing as these two Doctors of the Church taught, however, tends to put an exclamation point on what St. Paul wrote in Phil. 2:12 that we are to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”, doesn’t it? ;-)

    What do you WDTPRS fanatics think???

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  7. Elizabeth D says:

    I was sternly upbraided by a fellow St Vincent de Paul volunteer today who objected to me reflecting to male clients of our program for the homeless, who present themselves as female, that in fact they are males, also I have said to two people who most observers think may be both men though one is legally female, who say they are recently married, that if they are both men they are not married. I felt I was pointing to truths, and I have prayed much for the good of these individuals; he felt I was being judgemental and essentially was accusing me of lack of charity. Now, I do not claim to have much prudence, but if I was using that as a basis for wanting to not provide services for them then that would be lack of charity. But I really do want to do what we can to help them. These poor people live outdoors, it is a very hard life. Pray the Lord to have mercy on me and give me wisdom to know how to love as He loves, in this confusing vale of tears.

  8. Bruce says:

    Dave B.,
    Interesting comment! You have to be careful with predestination, our limited knowledge in time and God’s in eternity. We cannot ultimately know a souls fate ,while God who is not in time sees all.

    “The difficulty comes from thinking that God is progressing along the Time–line like us: the only difference being that He can see ahead and we cannot. Well, if that were true, if God foresaw our acts, it would be very hard to understand how we could be free not to do them. But suppose God is outside and above the Time-line. In that case, what we call ‘tomorrow’ is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call ‘today.’ All the days are ‘Now’ for Him. He does not remember you doing things yesterday; He simply sees you doing them…He does not ‘foresee’ you doing things tomorrow; He simply sees you doing them: because, though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him.”– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity p.148

    As long as someone is still alive there is always a possibility of God’s grace leading to conversion. We must pray and hope for the conversion of sinners, you never know, YOU might be the instrument that God uses to convert someone.

Comments are closed.