357. (2) Man can acquire for himself charity. It is the same here as with faith. For what does the Word teach but faith and charity, since these two are the essentials of salvation? For we read:
Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and thy neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:34-39).
Jesus said, A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. From this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, that you love one another (John 13:34, 35 15:9; 16:27).
It teaches also that man ought to bear fruit like a good tree; that he who does good shall be rewarded in the resurrection; besides other like things. What would be the use of all this if man were unable of himself to exercise charity, or acquire it for himself in any way? Cannot man give alms, can he not aid the needy, can he not do good in his own house and in his employment? Can he not live according to the commandments of the Decalogue? Has he not a soul from which he can do these things, and a rational mind whereby he can lead himself to act for this or that end? Can he not think that he ought to do these things because they are commanded in the Word, thus by God? No man lacks this power, and for the reason that the Lord gives it to everyone; and He gives it as something that is the man's own; for who, in exercising charity, knows otherwise than that he does it from himself?