Loving Our Neighbor


I hold it as an impossible thing that anyone who is not interior can attain to the perfect accomplishment of this precept of love for our neighbor.

Because, to do it perfectly, we must die in such a manner to our own spirit and our own will, that we may be guided entirely by the spirit of Jesus Christ and be animated by his charity.  Otherwise, the occasions of wounding this charity, at all events slightly, present themselves incessantly;  self-love, however little may remain of it, still has power to influence the heart;  it still leads away and corrupts our judgment, rules over our affections, and does all this perhaps in a manner that is imperceptible to us.

Now, in those persons who are not really interior, although they are supposed to be pious and holy, there is always a depth of self-love, which they know nothing about, which makes them blind and unjust with regard to their neighbor. 

And I must even add that in many cases the duties of charity are so delicate and refined that without a supernatural light, it is impossible to distinguish them clearly or appreciate them justly;  that these duties are so difficult to fulfill, that we have need to do so properly, of a virtue far above the common;  and finally, that they sometimes require sacrifices, which can only be made by those who are accustomed to die entirely to themselves.




Father Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J. "Loving Our Neighbor." excerpt from Manual for Interior Souls (London: S. Anselms Society, 1890).

Manual for Interior Souls is out of print and in the public domain. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat.


Father Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J. (1731-1803) was a French Jesuit priest and mystic and a beloved spiritual master. He is the author, among other books, of Meditations Upon The Love Of God, How To Pray, The practical science of the Cross in the use of the sacraments of penance and the eucharist. and The Spiritual Maxims of Pere Grou.

Copyright © In the public domain

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