REFLECTION: Ground preparation for charity PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 July 2014 14:04



Being the be-all and end-all of our life, charity needs to be prepared, so its seed can germinate, grow and mature into a timeless tree, never failing to bear fruit and giving cool shade to all of us as we go through the drama of life.

Being the very essence of God—“Deus caritas est”—charity covers and summarizes everything that is good for us, who are the image and likeness of God. We can rightly say that when we truly live charity, we have everything that we need to have and to be, as persons and children of God.

While charity is first of all a matter of grace that is actually abundantly given to us by God our Father, it also needs to be taken care of, its spirit and substance properly nurtured by us. St.Paul put it this way: “I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the increase.” (1 Cor 3,6)

We should therefore avail first of all of the spiritual and supernatural means to keep charity growing in us. These are prayer, sacrifice, recourse to the sacraments, growth in the virtues, assimilation of the redemptive doctrine of Christ and now of the Church, etc. This way, we put ourselves in constant contact with the source of charity.

But we have to develop the proper attitude, skills and art in make charity second nature to us. This is the ground preparation for charity, the tilling, planting and watering that St. Paul talked about.

In this regard, St. Paul and other saints has some useful and practical ideas. It’s good to be reminded of them and start or continue to pursue them, turning these indications into deeds and habits.

Saints and all holy men and women down the ages have used and lived by them. The result has always been that very wonderful sight of love winning even in the most extreme cases of difficulty, trials and contradictions.

But let’s be clear about one point. The extraordinary demands and manifestations of charity cannot be achieved unless its small, ordinary requirements are met in our daily life.

It’s in taking for granted the value of these little, ordinary stipulations of charity that gives the lie to our most fervent affirmations of charity. We really need to give due attention to these little ones and raise the common awareness of their value if we really want to live charity and reach the goal meant for us, which is sanctity.

Among these very helpful tips are the following. In his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul says: “Guard against foul talk. Let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners...Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.” (4,29-32)

Nowadays, we have a lot of gossiping, loose talk, rash judgments, self-righteousness, etc., We need to give more attention to these advice of St. Paul.

In his Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul tells us: “Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interest instead.” (2,4)

How wonderful it would be if we could have this frame of mind. It certainly requires a lot of self-denial, since our tendency is to think first of our interest. We only think of the interest of the others to the extent that it would be favourable or helpful to ours.

Then in his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul says: “We who are strong have a duty to put up with the qualms of the weak without thinking of ourselves. Each of us should think of his neighbours and help them to become stronger Christians.” (15,1-2)

Today, we are witnessing that very sorry sight of some of our political leaders taking advantage of their position, superior qualities, wealth and fame to make themselves richer, with hardly any qualms of stealing from the public coffers for their own private interests

I have often been asked why some of these privileged men still do such shameful acts. The answer is very simple. If there is no love, if there is no God truly in their mind and heart, the only thing they can do with their privileges and endowments is to grow in greed.

We need to make these basic attitudes of charity a living reality in our lives, planting them firmly in our mind and heart, watering them, and God will surely make the seed of charity flourish to be a big, strong, fruitful tree.