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Furnace of Charity
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
Certainly, we’ve heard these Commandments before — the first is the most important, after all. These lines from Matthew are Christ’s words for us. To put it another way, Christ is calling us to the virtue of charity, the greatest of the virtues we know, according to Saint Paul.
As we see in Christ’s words, charity (or love) always starts with God first. To illustrate this point, Saint Thomas Aquinas used the analogy of charity as being the heat that radiates from a furnace. The stronger our love for God, the hotter the furnace gets. The more our hearts burn with love, the further the warmth from the furnace reaches, even to complete strangers. But, it’s those who are closest to us, with whom we interact every day, who should receive the most heat.
Let this serve as a reminder for us, today and every day, to put God first, give Him time in prayer, and to let the furnace of love for Him radiate to all of those we meet.