December 3, 2010

What is Charity?

For the feast of St. Francis Xavier today, the Office of Readings offers us some a letter he wrote to St. Ignatius Loyola. St. Francis writes:

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: "What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!"


Charity is when someone organizes his behavior according to the missionary desire for the salvation of his neighbor in Christ.

Everything else that charity might be, like the corporal works of mercy for example, or even simple kindness on the natural level, derives from this original definition and focus, and is subordinated to it.

5 comments:

Brother said...

Brother, I hope you don't find this comment offensive, but the more I read your blog, the more you sound like Charlie Brown.

Brother Charles said...

Good grief!

Paul A. Zalonski said...

You might want to read Luigi Giussani's 3rd vol. of Is It Possible to Live This Way? This 3rd vol deals with charity, also sacrifice and virginity.

Greg said...

Your latest thoughts dovetail with a blog post I wrote yesterday...

In the post I look at the idea of making "spiritual conversations" a larger part of our lives... opening the discussion of our individual spiritual journeys may open doors...

Also, your blog is a perfect example of a spiritual conversation.

http://tamingthewolf.com/blog/the-spiritual-conversation/

Greg said...

Also, here's a video featuring the fierce wolf of Gubbio the Christmas after he met Francis... :>)

http://tamingthewolf.com/media/videos/merry-christmas-2010/