LOVE! CHARITY! What is Love? What is Charity? Oxford dictionary defines love as a feeling of deep affection or fondness for someone or something. Contextually, the difference between charity and love is that charity is the disposition to do good to others less fortunate than ourselves while love is a deep or abiding liking for something or someone.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that God is love. God created man to seek him, know him and love him with all his strength. This is the essence of the life of man.
Fulton J Sheen in his book Peace of a soul (chapter 8, pg. 164) explains the 5 aspects of love by which man's nature is uplifted and fulfilled:
The love of man or woman for God.
The love of man and woman for each other.
The love of parents for children.
The love of children for parents.
The love of men and women for the country, community etc.
He said that these are not five kinds or species of love but 5 aspects of love which even when we think of it as flowing between God and man. Fulton Sheen is of the view that there is a double love in each of us; a self-realizing love looking to our good and a self-effacing love looking to the good of another. These two are included in the divine command, " thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself ".
He said that it takes not two but three to make perfect love. Be it in the flesh (husband, wife, and child) or the spirit ( lover, beloved, and love) or the divine nature ( Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Love is always Triune.
The Catechism also says that charity is a supernatural gift of God by which we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for God's sake.
"What your Divine master wants of you is Love: Love for the Blessed Trinity. Love your neighbor, love greatly and you shall see the face of God. I want you all, especially you, my child to abandon yourself to the Holy Spirit so that you become His instrument. Be mindful always not to sin against the Holy Spirit."
This was the message our Lady gave to the visionary on 21st January 1992. (Apparition of the Virgin Mary chapter 2 pg. 29)
Love for the Blessed Trinity! If you love someone you will always think of the person; you will always want to be in the person's company.
How do we show love for the Blessed Trinity?
Our lady asked us to always visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, there you will find the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as they are inseparable. Our Lady asked Christiana in one of the messages to visit the Blessed Sacrament which was then miles away from Aokpe. She equally asked her to visit the sick in the hospital and to pray for them.
In Mathew 25: 35, Our Lord told us the action of people that will enter heaven; for when he was hungry, they gave him to eat; when he was thirsty, they gave him to drink; when he was naked they clothed him; when in hospital and in prison, they visited him (corporal works of mercy). This shows us that the charity we show to our neighbors we show to our God as we can not love God whom we do not see, but we can show the extent of the love we have for God (the Blessed Trinity) in our neighbors. To be able to do this, we first have to love ourselves, then we can show/give the same love towards others (neighbors). As you cannot give what you don't have.
How best can we get this love?
By asking our lady of Aokpe the Mediatrix of all Grace to grant us the grace to love, and love greatly. She is full of charity herself that was why she could quickly visit her cousin Elizabeth not considering that she is the Mother of the Messiah who is already conceived in her by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord performed His first miracle at the request of his blessed mother who was prompted by the love for the couple's wedding, whose wine ran out. This is why she can dispense the grace to love to those that ask her. This grace to love will enable us to become saints. It will help us to have the attributes to love as explained by St. Paul in 1st Cor 13, to be patient, kind, not jealous, boastful or rude, not to be arrogant nor rejoice in the wrong or self-seeking etc.
How do we love greatly?
I can say that to love greatly is embodied in keeping the commandments of God, which has been summarized as the love of God and love of neighbor. With the grace to love from our Lady of Aokpe, the Mediatrix of all Graces, we can love God ultimately; not having any other God besides him; not calling His name in vain, remembering to keep the Sabbath holy, honoring our father and mother and those in authority over us, not killing (talking ill of others), not stealing, not committing adultery/fornication nor being covetous towards our neighbors' wife or goods.
St. Paul understood the importance of love, that was why he wrote in 1st Corinthians chapter 13 detailing what love is and showing us the way of love. He, therefore, placed love above speaking in tongues, prophecy, faith, understanding all mysteries and all knowledge etc. The attributes of love are patience, kindness, not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its way. etc. I recall the visionary always reminding us to die to ourselves and do all our assigned tasks for the sake of the love we have for our Holy Mother.
The greatest of the three gifts; Faith, Hope and Charity is love. (1st Cor. 13:13). This is why our Holy Mother reminded us of the reward of loving greatly as she said to Christiana, "love greatly and you shall see the face of God." The mediatrix prayer she gave to us, captured it all. Lady the Mediatrix of all Graces, help us to do without delay the will of Jesus. Make us worthy to receive the grace that has been given to us so that we will be holy. Give us the grace to go and greet our Lord Jesus. Help us to always do the will of Jesus so that we can share in His Glory!
May our Lady of Aokpe, the Mediatrix of all Graces obtain for us her children the grace to love and love greatly so that we can see the face of God. Amen!