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§ 3. Beneficence.

Assist with a ready will those who are in need of thy help. And chiefly towards those who have hated thee, or who vex thee, do thou show friendliness in heart, countenance, and words; do good to them, as occasion may require, and faithfully pour forth prayers to God for them, as Christ Himself teaches, saying, “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you ” (St. Matth. v. 44). Let thy heart, therefore, be full of mercy towards those who are tempted, afflicted, or oppressed by any necessity. Joyfully relieve the wants of the needy with alms according to the measure of thy possessions. Believe that what thou givest to the poor, thou givest to Christ.

Send also spiritual alms to the faithful souls detained in the pains of Purgatory, praying devoutly for them. Whatsoever thou shalt do for their release and refreshment, Christ, who ardently loves them, will so receive as if thou hadst come to visit Him in prison, and hadst laboured to release Him. For they belong to the mystical Body of Christ, and Christ asserts in the Gospel that what is done to His members 124is done to Himself. Whence also He saith, “I was in prison, and you came to me ” (St. Matth. xxv. 36).

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