CHARITY - FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (1 of 12)
Charity, also one of the 3 Theological Virtues, is about self-giving love as opposed to self-seeking love. Most of us know love as desiring something or someone. This is the kind of love the Greeks called Eros, a powerful and necessary kind of love, but one that is meant to grow into the self-giving love that the Gospel calls charity. Charity is a participation in God's unconditional love. The growth of charity leads to self-surrender to God and to the compassionate love of others. The quality of Christ's love is the source of its vitality; the continual tender and loving awareness of the presence of God is its reward. Where does this charity come from? By the Holy Spirit, it is being infused into us in the silent seedbed of contemplative prayer.
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Matthew 25:34-46 shares with us the treasures bestowed upon those extending Charity as well as the eternal fire that awaits those who do not:
34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44 Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
There are 176 references to CHARITY in the CCC. Click HERE to review them (available on line only).
Those listed below are taken from the Index:
apathy and indifference contrary to, 2094; call to, 1694, 2013; catechesis and, 25, 1967, 1971; communion in, 953, 1475; destroyed by mortal sin, 1855-56, 1861, 1874; heart as the seat of, 1853; indulgence and, 1478; information and, 2489, 2494-95, 2497; as loving one's neighbor, 1822-29; "never ends," 25; offended and wounded by venial sin, 1855, 1863, 1875; wipes away venial sins, 1394, 1472. See also Love.
charity and sacraments: Baptism and, 1269, 1273, 1997, 2156, 2165; catechumens and, 1248-49; Eucharist as the sacrament of, 1323, 1394-95, 1416; marriage and, 1570, 1654; sacrament of Reconciliation and, 1434, 1466; sacramental life and growth in, 1134; sacraments of initiation and advancement in, 1212;
charity as Christian moral life: charisms and, 800, 2003; chastity and, 2346; as the form of the virtues, 826, 1827, 1841, 1844; freedom and, 1740; fruit of, 1825, 1829; as the goal of our actions, 1829; peace as the fruit of, 2304; as the perfection of Christian life, 1844, 1973; prayer and, 2098, 2662, 2806; virtue of religion and, 2095;
charity as witness and service: among the members of the Mystical Body, 791; the Church as the community of, 771, 815, 834; deacons and the service of, 1570, 1588, 1596; family as the school of Christian, 1657, 1666, 2204-05; love of country and the order of, 2239; Mary as the model of, 967-68; material goods and the order of, 2401, 2439, 2451, 2459, 2545; parish as a place of, 2179; religious life and, 915-16, 926; renunciation of violent action and the witness of, 2306; saints as a model of, 2156, 2165; secular institutes and, 928; as a social commandment, 1889; society of apostolic life and, 930; solidarity and, 1939, 1942; as the soul of the apostolate, 864; towards neighbor, 1789, 1878, 1931-32, 2447, 2462;
theological virtues of charity, 1813, 1822, 1826, 1841, 1844; faith and, 162, 1794, 1814, 2093; and the freedom of the children of God, 1828; grace of Christ as the source of, 2011; hope and, 1818, 2090; as love of God and neighbor, 1822, 1840, 1844, 2055, 2086, 2093; as loving according to Christ's love, 1823, 1825; new Law and, 1965-66, 1968, 1972-74; perseverance in, 1824; as the soul of holiness, 826; as the source of merits, 2011, 2026.