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THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

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BOOK ONE
THOUGHTS HELPFUL
IN THE LIFE OF THE SOUL

Liber Primus
Admonitiones ad Vitam spiritualem utiles.

Chapter 15
WORKS DONE IN CHARITY

NEVER do evil for anything in the world, or for the love of any man. For one who is in need, however, a good work may at times be purposely left undone or changed for a better one. This is not the omission of a good deed but rather its improvement.
Without charity external work is of no value, but anything done in charity, be it ever so small and trivial, is entirely fruitful inasmuch as God weighs the love with which a man acts rather than the deed itself.

Cap. 15.
De operibus ex charitate factis.

1. Pro nulla re mundi, et pro nullius hominis dilectione aliquod malum est faciendum. Sed pro utilitate indigentis bonum opus aliquando intermittendum aut quandoque pro meliori mutandum. Hoc nam facto opus bonum non destruitur, sed in melius commutatur. Sine charitate opus externum non prodest quemquam. Quicquid autem ex charitate agitur quantumcumque etiam parvum sit, et despectum totum efficitur fructuosum. Magis si quidem Deus pensat ex quanto quis agit, quam quantum quis facit.

He does much who loves much. He does much who does a thing well. He does well who serves the common good rather than his own interests. Now, that which seems to be charity is oftentimes really sensuality, for man's own inclination, his own will, his hope of reward, and his self-interest, are motives seldom absent. 2. Multum quis facit, qui multum diligit. Multum facit qui rem bene facit. Bene facit, qui magis communitati, quam suŠ voluntati fervit. SŠpe videtur esse charitas, et est magis carnalitas, quia carnalis inclinatio, propria voluntas, spes retributionis, affectus voluntatis raro abesse volunt.  
On the contrary, he who has true and perfect charity seeks self in nothing, but searches all things for the glory of God. Moreover, he envies no man, because he desires no personal pleasure nor does he wish to rejoice in himself; rather he desires the greater glory of God above all things. He ascribes to man nothing that is good but attributes it wholly to God from Whom all things proceed as from a fountain, and in Whom all the blessed shall rest as their last end and fruition. If man had but a spark of true charity he would surely sense that all the things of earth are full of vanity!   3. Qui veram et perfectam charitatem habet, in nulla re se ipsum quŠrit, sed Dei solummodo gloriam in omnibus fieri desiderat. Nulli etiam invidet, quia nullum privatum gaudium amat, nec in se ipso vult gaudere, sed in Deo super omnia optat bona beatificari. Nemini aliquid boni attribuit, sed totaliter ad Deum refert tota, unde omnia procedunt. In quo finaliter omnes Sancti fruibiliter quiescunt. O qui scintillam haberet verŠ charitatis, perfecte omnia terrena sentiret plena vanitatis.
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