Unde intellectus plus participans de lumine gloriae, perfectius Deum videbit. Plus autem participabit de lumine gloriae, qui plus habet de caritate, quia ubi est maior caritas, ibi est maius desiderium; et desiderium quodammodo facit desiderantem aptum et paratum ad susceptionem desiderati. Unde qui plus habebit de caritate, perfectius Deum videbit, et beatior erit.
Hence the intellect which has more of the light of glory will see God the more perfectly; and he will have a fuller participation of the light of glory who has more charity; because where there is the greater charity, there is the more desire; and desire in a certain degree makes the one desiring apt and prepared to receive the object desired. Hence he who possesses the more charity, will see God the more perfectly, and will be the more beatified. [Ia q. 12 a. 1 co]
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae
In charity, we love God and neighbor (as well as ourselves) in the same act. Our love for God must always include our love of self and neighbor, and our love for self and neighbor must always be ordered to our love for God. At first glance this might appear to be a strange teaching. When we are loving the infinitely lovable God, must we have in view our far less lovable neighbor, let alone ourselves? Aquinas sees this form an eschatological perspective; “The aspect under which our neighbor is to be loved, is God, since what we ought to love in our neighbor is that he may be in God. Hence it is clear that it is specifically the same act whereby we love God, and whereby we love our neighbor” [ST IIa-IIae q.25 a.1]. The same holds with our love of self. Aquinas’ perspective is also rooted in the theology of creation. We love our neighbors, including our enemies, because insofar as they exist, the participate in God the Trinity. We love them as creatures called to attain to the fullness of beatific participation in God the Trinity. Thus we can love them without loving their sins. (8)
Matthew Levering, The Betrayal of Charity
n., Christianity The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love.
[Middle English charite, from Old French, Christian love, from Latin cāritās, affection, from cārus, dear. cf., Gr. ἀγάπη]
Benozzo Gozzoli, The Glory of St. Thomas Aquinas (15th cent.)