We have already remarked that the love of God for all men must be the model of our love for them. Now, God not only loves the just but also sinners. It is true, he hates and detests their sins, because he is offended, by them but he loves the sinner, because he created him, redeemed him, and has the greatest desire to see himself united to him by grace here below and by glory in heaven.
This love of God for sinners, we say, must be the model of our love for them. We must hate and detest the sins of our neighbor, because they make him an enemy of God; but we must love that sinful neighbor, because, as long as he is a pilgrim on earth, he is capable of meriting eternal happiness. How many saints are now in heaven who, for several years, were great sinners, but are now glorifying God in heaven throughout all eternity for his goodness and mercy to them?
Witness St. Augustine, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Margaret of Cortona, and so many others, who from great sinners became very great saints in the Church of God. If we read that the prophets and saints wished for the punishment of the wicked ("Let the wicked be thrown into hell, all the nations that forget God:" Ps., ix., 18.) it was rather through a desire of seeing divine justice triumph over impiety and iniquity, but they did not wish the eternal damnation of sinners; for we should always have compassion for sinners, says St. Thomas, unless they publicly renounce or reject the true faith, and wish to die in the state of impenitence.
Should we have charity for the demons or evil spirits ?
God speaks through the prophet Isaias (Xxviii., 18) "Your league with death shall be abolished, and your covenant with hell shall not subsist." The demons or evil spirits are the inhabitants of hell and the instruments of eternal death. Now, as charity is the perfection of peace and the seal of the divine covenant, we can have no charity for the demons, as such charity would be contrary to divine justice. However, in the same way that we have compassion for irrational creatures, because their preservation tends to the glory of God and the general utility of man ; so we may have the same sentiments with regard to the evil spirits as being a portion of the universal creation and wish that these evil spirits should be preserved in their natural state for the glory of the divine Majesty.
To be continued . . . . . . . . . .