September 9, 2010
Luke 6: 27 – 38
All of the teachings of Jesus call us to a strong adherence to the virtues. Christ Himself places great emphasis on the central one of charity, love for others. How we live this demanding perfection reveals the state of our relationship with God and one another.
This passage from Luke’s Gospel presents us with the manner in which you and I must put this virtue of charity into practice. A careful reading of the text indicates that we most certainly need God’s help in order to do this.
We are often presented with a number of explanations of charity today but there is, perhaps, none better than the one that Saint Paul presented in his Letter to the Christians at Corinth (I Corinthians 13: 1 –13).
Because it is a portion of the inspired word of God and because it is a sure guide to us who want to practice this all-important virtue, the definition is worth reading in its entirety:
If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
May the many Graces we receive at Holy Mass enable us to live this very important virtue and, in
so doing, contribute to the spiritual welfare of those with whom we live, work and study.