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Jun 25th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. We Must Live Charity at All Times and in All Circumstances.
We Must Live Charity at All Times and in All Circumstances. PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Saturday, 17 May 2008 14:06

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and ‘a tooth for a tooth. ‘But I say to you.. . . (Matt 5:38-48) if anyone would go to law with you and take your tunic, let him take your cloak as well; and whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two . . . These words of Jesus in the Gospel of today’s Mass are an invitation to live charity beyond the criteria of men.

We should not be naive when dealing with people, but rather exercise prudence and justice (which might include demanding our rights). But neither should we regard any renunciation and sacrifice offered for the good of others as a mere excess of zeal, for it is by such actions that we become like Christ, who by his death on the cross gave us the example of a love that knew no human measure.

There is nothing in man more divine, more Christ-like, than his meekness and patience in doing good (cf St Gregory Nazianzen, Prayer, 17:9). Of all the virtues leading to salvation, Saint John Chrysostom suggests, let us seek mainly those that benefit our neighbor . . . In the things of this world no one lives for himself; the craftsman, the soldier, the farmer, the merchant, all without exception contribute to the common good and to the good of their neighbor. This happens even more fully in the spiritual life, which is the true life. He who lives only for himself and despises his neighbor is useless, is not a man, does not belong to our lineage (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on St Matthew’s Gospel, 77:6).

Our Lord’s repeated calls for us to be charitable at all times, and especially in his New Commandment (John 13:34-35), must stimulate us to follow His lead by finding concrete ways of being of help to others, such as by making those at our side happy, realizing that we can never be too extravagant in the practice of this virtue. Most of the time the practice of charity will consist in little details, something as simple as a smile, a word of encouragement, a kind gesture . . . In the eyes of God all of this is very pleasing and draws us closer to Him. In our prayer today we should also consider areas where we can easily lack charity if we are not careful: rash judgments, negative criticism, neglect of others due to self-centeredness, forgetfulness . . .

The Christian way of conduct is not the way of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but to do good always, even though occasionally such an attitude will not result in any human gain in this world - but at least we will have enriched our hearts.

Charity makes us understanding, ready to forgive, fit to live alongside everyone, so that those who think and act differently from us in social, political and even in religious matters will also have a claim on our respect and charity . . .

Love and courtesy of this kind should not, of course, make us indifferent to truth and goodness. Love, in fact, impels the followers of Christ to proclaim to all men the truth that saves. But we must distinguish between the error - which must always be rejected - and the one who is in error, for he never loses his dignity as a person even though he flounders amid false or inadequate religious ideas (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 28). A disciple of Christ will never treat anyone badly. Error he will call error, but he will correct the person in error with kindliness. Otherwise he will not be able to help him, to sanctify him (J. Escrivá, Friends of God, 9). And that is the greatest manifestation of love.

Announcement: We are conducting a "Be glad You're Catholic, learning and loving your Faith" seminar in Baguio City (Philippines) on May 17 to 18 at the CRC Hall, Bishop's House starting at 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. For more information on how to join, please reply to this email or call/text 09162421585 (John). Those who have friends in Baguio who might wish to attend, kindly inform them and not miss this opportunity. This seminar is a joint project with the Diocese of Baguio.

With permission from Scepter UK.  Short excerpt  from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez.  

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Last Updated on Saturday, 17 May 2008 14:11

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