Therefore be watchful. Eating, drinking, carousing, gambling and hunting are pleasures, but evils of every kind follow in the wake of these vanities.
No one can deny that they are enjoyable, but love of God’s law must come first, for to love God means to keep his commandments.
Which commandments? You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
My brothers, to widen our hearts we need not depend upon ourselves.
Ask God to help you love one another – to love everyone without exception, not just your friends but enemies as well; not because they are your brothers in Christ, but so that they may be.
Pray that you may always have a warm fraternal love for other people, both for those who have become your brothers, and for your enemies that they may become such.
Whenever you love brothers you love friends, for they are already with you, joined to you in Catholic unity.
If they live virtuously you love them as people who have been changed from enemies into brothers.
But suppose you love people who do not yet believe in Christ, or if they do, yet believe as the devil believes – they believe in Christ but still do not love him.
You must love just the same, you must love even people like that, you must love them as brothers.
They are not such yet, but you must love them so that they may become such through your kindness. All our love, then, must be fraternal.
I would ask you to consider and understand where it is that true pleasure for mind and heart is to be found.
Strength of body and mind, the fruits of one’s labours, the flowering of achievement, beauty, charm, food and drink, chaste embraces – when accompanied by love, all these things bring true pleasure.
If such are the pleasures granted us while yet wayfarers, what delights will not be ours when we reach our heavenly homeland?
If the dew is so refreshing, how could the river fail to fulfil all our desires? Through the sweetness of love our Lord and Saviour has given us a taste of heaven.
Let us, then, with his help, make every effort to preserve that love in all its perfection, so that when, after our pilgrimage through this world, we reach our eternal homeland, we may deserve to enjoy its de
Caesarius of Arles (469/70-542): Sermon 137.3-6 (CCL 103:567-568), from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Friday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1.