Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

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In message #11045 OurRomanCatholicFaith@y..., on June 1, A.D. 2002, 
"Rev Fr Charles T Brusca" <> wrote, concerning the charity that ought to be the hallmark of traditional Catholics:

Dear Listmembers:

    The modern emphasis on physical love -- eros -- often makes it difficult for modern people to understand the more disinterested and altruistic love that is caritas, or Charity.  Perhaps even the love of married couples could stand a little re-emphasis on Charity, rather than on the eros of the movie screen.

    Apart from a few mystics -- St. Gertrude, for example -- very few people seem to possess Charity (the love of God or the love of fellow man for the sake of God) in a way that raises their blood pressure or elevates their pulse.  That is not necessarily bad, or a sign of deficient Faith -- it seems to be the way God made most of us.  For most of us, the outward manifestation of charity is keeping the Commandments and looking out for one another.

    The best reading on Charity for the average person is, in my estimation, to be found in the New Testament.  Particularly in the context of this thread, I would suggest beginning with our Lord's discourse at the Last Supper as it is narrated in Saint John's Gospel, say chapters 12-18 to be complete.

    If Jesus -- the ultimate mystic -- displayed any emotion about the love of God it is in chapter 12.  Perhaps it is more of a concern for Faith than for Charity.  A concern that people must go to the Father by believing in His Son -- a concern strong enough for Jesus to "cry out, 'he who believes in Me [believes in Him who sent Me ...'"(44).  Really, His emotion is the love of God for His people.

    Chapter 13 begins with the God-man washing the feet of His Apostles -- Humility will clearly be part of Christian Charity.  It works up to "a new commandment, that you love one another ..." (34-35).

    Chapter 14:  "I am the way and the truth and the life"(6).  Just as Humility is part of Jesus' follower's path to eternal life with the Father, so is truth.  "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (15) -- it takes no "rocket science" to know that love includes a desire to please.

    "Greater love than this no one has than he lay down his life for his friends" (Ch. 15: 12).  Clearly, this is not the stuff of petty bickering and invented differences -- our Lord is talking about Himself, but about us and our relationship with each other as well.  "If the world hates you, know that it hated me before you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you ..." (18-19).    "I have spoken to you that you may not be scandalized.  They will expel you from the synagogues ... because they do not know the Father or Me" (Ch. 16:1, 2, 3).  "You have sorrow now, but I shall see you again ... and your joy shall not be taken from you" (Ch. 16: 23).  **Repeat these phrases daily!**

    "I do not pray that Thou take them out of the world, but that Thou keep them from evil.  They are not of this world ... sanctify them in truth.  Thy word is truth" (17: 15-17).  "Yet not for these only do I pray, but for those also who through their word are to believe in me, that all may be one, even as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee ... that they may be perfected in unity" (17: 20-22).

    "Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice" (Ch. 18: 37).

    And regularly throughout the epistles we hear the exhortation to a "constant mutual charity among yourselves" or similar words to that effect.  Noteworthy among Saint Paul's writings is his beautiful discourse on Charity in 1 Corinthians 13, for it gives us an idea of what Charity is not -- that it is quite independent of prophecy and tongues, and ostentatious penance, and a host of other motivations -- that it is patient, kind, altruistic, and enduring.

    Saint John -- significantly, the disciple whom Jesus loved -- left three epistles in addition to his gospel.  Each of them treats of the virtue of Charity.  The first is very significant for it speaks to the relationship of Faith and Charity.  (We heard a little from it in the Masses of the first and second Sundays after Pentecost.)  "In this has the love of God been shown in our case, that God has sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we may believe in Him" (1 John 4: 9).  "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (4: 16).

    No doubt there are other chapters to consider.  Very little, if any, of this is emotional in the sense that we often think of love. Underlying most of it is an extremely practical motive toward cooperation.  Something that would go a long way among "traditionalists."

    "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that those who believe in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting" (John 3: 16).

    Let us pray for one another that we may love one another, and thereby love God.

in Xto,
Fr. Brusca


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