The Divine Love
The two treatises De Laude Caritatis and
De Amore Sponsi ad Sponsam

Hugh of St Victor

Translated by A Religious of C.S.M.V.
Edited by Matthew C. Dallman

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Charity heals every sickness of the soul, charity digs up all vices by the roots, charity is the wellspring of all the virtues. Charity enlightens the mind, cleanses the conscience, rejoices the soul, and reveals God. Pride does not puff up the soul where charity abides, envy does not ravage it, anger does not distract it, no evil sadness troubles it, greed does not inflame it, and luxury defiles it not. It is always pure, it is always chaste, always serene, always happy, always peaceable, always kind, and always gentle. It is always undisturbed when things go wrong and restrained when they go well. It always despises the world and loves God; by loving it appropriates all other people’s blessings, and it gladly shares its own with all. It has no fear of poverty, and no great longing for wealth.

He in whom charity abides is always thinking when he may get to God and leave the world, when he may escape from occasions of falling and find true peace. His heart is always lifted up, and his desire always set on things above. When he is walking or sitting, when he is busy or at rest, whatever he is doing, his heart does not depart from God. When he is silent, God is in his thoughts; when he speaks, he wants to speak of nothing except God and things pertaining to the love of God. By encouraging others he kindles himself, and commends charity to all; not only with his lips but also by his actions he makes it plain to others how sweet the love of God is, and how bitter and impure that of this present world. He scorns the glory of this world, rebukes anxiety, and shows how foolish it is to put one’s trust in things that do not last. He marvels at the blindness of those who love these things; he marvels that they have not finished long ago with all these transitory, perishable matters. He thinks that what is sweet to him is sweet to all, that all like what he loves, that what he knows is manifest to all.

These are the tokens by which charity makes itself known, and marks out those in whom it dwells, not only in their inward will, but also in their outward conversation.