Life in grace

Just as you see that when men are brought into natural existence the first thing they obtain is life, so it ought to be the same with the existence of grace. But through what does a man live in the existence of grace? Surely through charity. “We know that we have been carried over from death into life because we love the brethren” (1 Jn. 3:14). Whoever does not love his brother, regardless of whatever sort of good work he may do, is dead. Charity is the life of the soul, for just as a body lives through its soul, so the soul lives through God, and God dwells in us through charity. “He who abides in charity abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn. 4:16). In today’s Gospel we heard: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn. 14:23). But the man who does not do the will of God does not perfectly love Him, for “it belongs to friends to will and not will the same thing.” In the homily of today’s office, Gregory says: “Love’s proof is in love’s work.” But you say: we just aren’t able to fulfill the commands of God. I say: you aren’t able to fulfill them by your own powers, but through the grace of God you certainly can do so! Hence the Evangelist adds: “My Father will love him”– God shall not fail a man – “and we will come to him,” that is, we will be present to him (Jn. 14:23). By that presence [of God in our hearts], we [Christians] will be able to dedicate our powers to fulfilling God’s commands. Concerning this charity for fulfilling God’s commands, we read in Ephesians: “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works” (Eph. 2:10). Where does this charity in us come from? The Holy Spirit. “The charity of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5). He who has a share of daylight has that light from the sun; in the same way he who has charity has it from the Holy Spirit. Therefore: “Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created”– namely, in the being of the life of grace, through charity.