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Charity is love free of benevolence

When we talk about charity, the thought runs spontaneously to the wallet and immediately we imagine the classic gesture of almsgiving. Instead, when Christians talk about the charity they want to mean something else. Charity is above all the definition, the very identity of God, which is a love free of benevolence. The term charity defines the love with which God loves himself and loves each of us. Finally, charity means the love with which we love God, ourselves, and others.

Thus speaks the Catechism of the Catholic Church – Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for himself, and our neighbor as ourselves for love of God – it has fruits of joy, peace, and mercy, demands generosity and fraternal correction, is benevolence, arouses reciprocity, always proves selfless and beneficial, it is friendship and communion.

God is love, whoever is in love dwells in God and God dwells in him (1 John 4:16). These words of John’s first Letter describe with singular clarity the center of the Christian faith: the image of God and the consequent image of the man and his journey. Furthermore, in this same verse, John offers us a synthetic formula of Christian existence – We have recognized the love that God has for us and we believed in it. We believed in the love of God – so the Christian can express the fundamental choice of his life.

Charity, love, is God himself, the living and personal Being who wants to make himself known and therefore calls into existence what does not exist (cf Rom 4:17), offering his creature the opportunity to share something of his bliss. This living and personal Being is in itself a substantial communion of the three divine Persons: the Father loves the Son, and the love with which the Father loves the Son is the Holy Spirit. All that is created is out of love and with love and receives love as the law of life.

God loved the world so much that he gave the only-begotten Son so that anyone who believes in him may not be lost but have eternal life (John 3:16). The fact that those who love to want to be loved is in the logic of love. The desire to be paid arises from the power of love itself, which does not experience the perfection of its actions except in overcoming all extraneousness to one another. Scripture states that God also wishes to be paid and uses a surprising formula: he speaks of the jealousy of God (cf Ex 34, 14; Deut 4:24), God is jealous.

When Christianity speaks of charity, it speaks of God who in Christ reveals that he loves man and wants man to respond to this love. And at the same time, he means the charity with which man loves God: man’s charity is an answer to the charity of God. We love – says Saint John – because He loved us first (1 John 4, 19). God gives his grace, but we must welcome it. In Jesus human nature is fully saved, that is, forgiven, justified, sanctified, deified, made fully daughter in the glorious life of immortal love.

But it is up to each one to accept this gift with a personal and free adherence to the mystery of Jesus, the Word made flesh dead and risen – God who created you without you, will not save you without you says Saint Augustine. Love does not force. This is why the grace received in Baptism can remain unsuccessful for years. But fortunately, Jesus tells us – My Father is also acting now and I am also acting – (John 5:17). God is always at work in our life! Even if we don’t always realize it, we are not left to ourselves.

Behind and in front of you surround me and place your hand on me, the psalmist already said (Psalm 139: 5). Through the events of daily existence, God helps me to know me better, to clarify my intentions, to emerge from my uncertainties. With the grace that prevents, He disposes of everything so that I can open myself in the light of faith, free my freedom so that I can give my consent, draws me to himself through graces and trials, continually offers me the opportunity to respond to his love.

This post was published on June 6, 2020 1:38 pm

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