The substance of this act is: I love God above all things for His own goodness, and my neighbor as myself for the sake of God. An act of love and an act of charity are the same thing with different names. We are accustomed to call such things as the giving of alms or help to the poor, the doing of some good work that we are not bound to do for another, charity. Surely there are many motives that may induce persons to help others in their distress; but what is the chief Christian motive, if it be not the love we bear our brother-man because he is, like ourselves, a child of God, and the desire we have to obey God, who wishes us to help the needy? The sufferings of others excite our pity, and the more we love them the more sorry are we to see them suffer. Thanks to God for all His mercies to us; He might have made us, instead of this man, poor and in suffering, but He has spared us and afflicted him; we know not why God has done so, and therefore we help him, moved by these considerations even when we feel he is not deserving of the help, because we know his unworthiness will not prevent God from rewarding our good intention. We may be charitable to our neighbor by saying nothing hurtful about him, by never telling his faults without necessity, etc. Therefore real charity, in its widest sense, and love are just the same.
AN ACT OF CONTRITION
O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
The substance of this act is: O my God! I am very sorry for all my sins, because by them I have offended Thee, and with Thy help, I will never sin again. It is well to know what the acts contain in substance, for we can use these short forms as aspirations during the day, when we probably would not think of saying the long forms. A fuller explanation of the qualities of our contrition will be given in Lesson Eighteen.
THE BLESSING BEFORE MEALS
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our lord. Amen.
GRACE AFTER MEALS
We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, Who livest and reignest forever. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.