Sans charity, nothing is of value PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 June 2016 15:15



Of real and eternal value, that is. At best, one can only enjoy some passing benefit or advantage that can usually have a double effect of good and bad, depending on how one carries out a particular human act. It’s charity that makes even the most ordinary activity acquire tremendous, eternal worth.

This can easily be gleaned from some words of St. Paul.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor 13,1-3)

Further down, he reiterated the same idea. “Where there are prophecies, they will cease. Where there are tongues, they will be stilled. Where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.” (1 Cor 13,8-10)

Yes, charity or love is the ultimate value that we have to aspire for. It is the fullness of Christian life. With it, everything else is subsumed. Even our mistakes and ignorance, if done with love,can somehow acquire eternal value. Apropos to this, St Paul testifies:

“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (8,28)

We cannot deny that we many times get contented only with some worldly value to motivate our thoughts, words and deeds. It can be effectiveness, efficiency, profitability, popularity, etc.

While these motives are good in themselves, they can turn bad if not infused with the spirit of charity. As can be easily verified in numberless cases, they can occasion dishonorable motives like greed, envy, lust, sloth, love for power, etc. That would be a

pity because with all the apparent goodness these motives can effect, they still fail to reach the ultimate goal meant for us.

We need to see to it that charity is at the beginning and end, as well as in the in-between of our every act, be it a thought, an intention, a word or a deed. We need to train and discipline ourselves strictly in this, since it is very easy for us to be carried away by merely human and worldly values and motives.

In this, we have to look closely at Christ who as God is the very essence of love himself, the very source, power and pattern of love. And as our Redeemer, Christ clearly commanded us to love one another as he has loved us.

And so, we need to look at one another and to do things always from the perspective of Christ’s love for us. Nothing that we do, even the most impressive act we do, can have real value if not inspired by Christ’s love. On the other hand, if Christ’s love motivates us, even the most ordinary and insignificant act we do can have eternal value.

We have to exert great effort here, since we have to contend with a tremendous environment that ignores Christian love as motive for our actions, while revering worldly values to stimulate our actions.

This does not mean that we retreat from the world in order to be filled with the love of Christ. This is a mentality that has gone out of date, though many are still hooked to it. Our worldly and temporal affairs are no obstacles and hindrances in putting Christian love into the real world.

We just have to cultivate a kind of contemplative spirit, proper of persons immersed in the world, to be able to see God in everything and to be moved by love in his every activity.

As Christ himself said, we might be in the world, but we are not supposed to be worldly. St. Paul said something relevant: “Set  your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col 3,2) This simply means that while we have to do our temporal affairs, we should offer everything to God as an act of love.

It’s actually when we offer things to God that these things can also be of great and real benefit to others. We have to rectify our intentions then, and avail of a spiritual plan which would enable us to be with God always even in our most mundane affairs.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 June 2016 15:25