Living charity, which is the source of every virtue, brings out the figure of Christ in us, because by loving we are another Him. In spite of our love for our brothers and sisters, we still carry with us certain faults that take away something of the beauty of Christ in us.
… You know how in acquiring [virtues] and in combatting their opposing vices, we, who are called by God to find our “fortune” in our neighbour, discover that it is truly by loving Him that we deny ourselves. And you know that, to improve ourselves, we do not usually aim directly at removing one fault after another. Instead, we go around the obstacles, or “change room,” as we say, by “living the others”. In this way, we place ourselves on the path of charity which is the source of every virtue.
… Besides, Jesus Forsaken, to whom we have given our lives, is for us the model of all virtues. We have always said that we want to love Him not only in suffering but also in living the virtues.
Charity, in fact, brings out the figure of Christ in us because when we love we are another Christ. But by loving Jesus Forsaken in living the virtues, we have the impression of chiselling that figure of Christ in us, of refining it.
We notice, in fact, that despite our love for our brothers and sisters, for years we’ve still been carrying around little or larger faults, that are sometimes trivial, but which take something away from the beauty of Christ in us.
What are these faults? Everyone has their own. At times we spoil what we are doing by rushing, or we don’t do the will of God perfectly. We are distracted in prayer; we dwell on foolish things that the world enjoys; we don’t know how to moderate our appetite. We are often overcome by curiosity, or we fall into vainglory. We speak out of turn or unnecessarily. We are attached to little things, a bit dependent on television. We let our brothers and sisters serve us; we are inconsistent, and so on.
What should we do?
When it is a question of things that are not good, Jesus invites us to act decisively when he affirms, “ If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out” (cf. Mt 5:29).
We too, therefore, out of love for Jesus Forsaken, while continuing on the path of love, must not waver and must remain who we are, but root out our vices one by one. …
I am convinced that this is even more possible on our spiritual path. Love, in fact, helps us. Love is self-denial and burns away these things too.
Nonetheless, it isn’t a bad idea to focus on some of our faults and get into the habit of practising their opposite virtues. …
Let’s take courage then and get to work!
(From a telephone conference call, Rocca di Papa 21st June 1984)