“The more one will be united to God the happier will one be. Now the measure of charity is the measure of one’s union with God.” –From “Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life; Vol. 5: St. Thomas Aquinas,” pg. 72. Selected and Arranged by John P. McClernon.
This is an interesting little sermon. Here our Saint tells us that we measure our charity by how closely united we are to God. And the more closely united we are to God, the happier we shall be. Our charity, then, is not measured by great works or deeds of love, nor by the amount of sentiment that fills our hearts (or the lack thereof). We should not use these human measures to quantify our love. Sentiments are fleeting; great deeds and works are on the whole, few and far between. There is no need in day-to-day life to constantly attempt grand and glorious works, if that is not what God wills for us.
No, union with God’s will surpasses all sentiment of heart, all other works and deeds, for it is only in union with God’s will that our works and our sentiments find any value or purpose. Outside of the will of God, our works mean as nothing. Our sentiments come one day and are gone the next as if they had never been. We must be in union with God and with His Holy Will if we hope to have charity to the fullest measure possible, and if we hope for happiness. We can find it, true peace and happiness as Our Lord Himself promised, in union with God’s will, in accepting all things that come to us as from His hands, whether it be joy or sorrow, dryness or jubilation, vigor or weakness. This is the true peace that abides through all things, turning even our sorrows into occasions of joy.
Let us pray fervently for this grace of union with God’s will, to be submissive and obedient to it unto the end, for it is in this that we find fullness of peace and abundance of true charity. Let us not quantify our love by human means, but by the ‘measure of [our] union with God.’ And in these upcoming final weeks of Lent, let us be ever more vigilant in chastising our will and seeking to bring it into union with God’s will, letting His will replace ours, that we may be found worthy to rise glorious with Christ in His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.