What is charity?
It is the love of God who became ardent, takes the name of charity, and consists in the affection that the man of God, whose interests he considers above all else. No one could raise awareness of this love using other natural and dutiful love, for example the love of a woman for her husband, a son for his father, a father to his son. When man behaves towards God as a woman with her husband, a son with his father, being interested and have flocked how these people are wont to do, we can say that it really is love and charity.
How many species of this love are there?
It can divide it into three kinds: active love, suffering love and fruitful love.
What is the active love?
It is the concern, soul generated by love that she has for God, to do and perform all that she believes will promote his glory and to its satisfaction. These things relate to three types of action:
The soul who is truly in love with God is diligent in these three things and proves to have a continuous concern to make relentless and restless all that honors God; brings relief to others and can make it more pure and more innocent. That's what makes the active love that usually is called fervor. St. Gregory says: "A great love is never idle. Makes great things, if it exists; but if he refuses to act, it is not love".
What is the suffering love?
It is what it is accompanied by pain, growing with them and perfected through them. It comes after the first, which we have already talked about, because when the soul has given witness to his love with good works, God, to make this love purer, more holy and more perfect, has to suffer and He puts in evidence, with what amounted to two suffering Species: external and internal. In this the soul can have three provisions. The first is the determination to suffer: the love that is in it nothing is as what led to the opposition, the pains and sorrows; because that makes it stronger and more ready to do what is right. This we know from what we have revealed to the saints. Saint Teresa exclaimed: "To suffer or die." St. Bernard said that you cannot live in love without suffering. St. Ignatius Martyr wanted the ferocious beasts with ardor. So, when love begins to inflame a heart, it longs to suffer like fire wants the wood to feed.
The second disposition of the soul is that, when reached by the suffering, although the nature of it is oppressed, has the spirit of a great joy. They are her feasts and, even more admirable, his desire grows with the experience of the hardships.
Give me the crosses, give me the hardships, comfort me with the suffering. The third disposition of the soul is to consider the cross as the bed on which he wants to die, as the inseparable companion of his life. It is a nest of cinnamon and other aromatic trees where the phoenix of love wants to die and be consumed, which means that the soul, for the ills that is suffering, hoping for a final rest, or even finds peace in those same hardships, because they keep the love in a continuing effort towards God and a rest that prepare the heart to a more perfect union with the heavenly bridegroom. So this same husband to reward his best friends, he gives them pain and suffering. That is why St. John of the Cross, having heard the word of the crucified Jesus telling him: "John, what do you ask me for what you have suffered?" He replied: "To suffer and be be despised for you, Lord".
What is fruitful love?
That's what gives the soul the possession of God. To understand this, we know that man does not come only in the next life to enjoy God, but as early as this, under the veil of faith, possesses God with love and joy. This is why many saints have likened the soul come to divine status to marriage: it is expressed in the Sermons on the Song of St. Bernard, St. Lawrence Justinian, Gerson and others; Santa Teresa herself, in "Settime Residence," says that the last state in which the soul arrives is the spiritual marriage. Because the order that God follows is that the soul, after which He worked and did many good works with love, after it was proven with the suffering, is led into a life of familiarity and love expressed by these words: "I sup with him and he with me." This exercise of love, to be understood, requires a great purity in souls who listen, because you cannot explain that using things that scandalize the weak and often, for carnal persons, are cause for ridicule; However, the pure souls, these things give way to progress wonderfully in love, and to those who aspire to this good, to admire God's goodness.