“Charity is the queen of virtues. No matter where it begins, it is always the daughter of providence.” — Padre Pio, 1887-1968, Italy.
The Virtue Of Charity
2019-Dec-28 . . . By: ncdm
Charity is considered the most essential virtue of Christianity. Without this, we cannot call ourselves true Christians. This was stressed by Jesus when He said:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Laws and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:37.
“Love your neighbor” seems to come as too broad a word, but in many of his teachings, Jesus actually meant that Love is Charity. He furthered this with:
A rich man asked Jesus about the eternal life, saying he has kept and fulfilled all the commandments since he was a boy. Jesus replied: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
.. . When the man became sad, Jesus said: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter heaven.” — Luke 18:22.
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? ” — 1 John 3:17.
“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.” — Luke 12:33.
“What good is it if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Faith, if not accompanied by works, is dead.” — James 2:16.
“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”” — Luke 14:14.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” — James 1:27.
Charity can come in many forms other than money or goods given to the needy.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” — Romans 12:4.
“Charity covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:8.
Charity also include those works that promote spiritual welfare, like admonishing, counselling, comforting, and praying for the living and the dead. When someone is in error, it is an act of charity to correct the person who is doing something wrong. It is charity to explain the faith to someone who is ignorant about it. It is also charity to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory. These works are just as crucial for our lives as Christians, for we cannot simply focus on the physical and material needs of our neighbors, but also the needs of the soul.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” — Romans 12:15.
However, there somehow are caveats in charity like when people take advantage of our kindness. In this world, though “it is more blessed to give than to receive” :[Acts 20:35]: , there are more takers than givers. And among the takers there are those who have bad intentions and take more than what is proper. Prudence is also a cardinal virtue, and it must be exercised to regulate charity. This means it is right to say enough to the freeloaders when needed, as they can leave the others empty-handed. In charity, one must also be discreet to avoid the bad intentions of some.
Finally, here are some words from the great Saints:
“Every perfection and every virtue proceeds from charity. Charity is nourished by humility. And humility comes from knowledge and holy hatred of oneself. To attain charity, therefore, you must dwell constantly in the cell of self-knowledge.” — Saint Catherine of Sienna
“He who attaches himself to the earth, remains attached to it. We are obliged to leave it. It is better to become detached a little at a time, rather than all at once.” — Padre Pio.
“The rich man who gives to the poor does not bestow alms but pays a debt.” — St. Ambrose, [339-397] Milan, Italy.