41. Charity, the supreme virtue

  Introduction

   Charity is the greatest of virtues. During the Last Supper, Jesus said to his Apostles: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13, 34-35). The new commandment points to the extent that we love others: as Christ has loved us. The commandments of God’s law are summed up in two: love God above all things as well as your neighbor just as we love our own self. Love, therefore, is the perfection of the law.

    Hence charity is the most important Christian virtue as we go through our pilgrimage, and it will also be our duty in Heaven, where there will be no faith since we shall see God face to face, nor hope, because we will have reached our goal. Charity is the only thing that will remain.

    Let’s see what this virtue is, which summarizes and crowns all of the supernatural life.

  A. Answer with one of these options: known, loved, disciples, companions, two, three, love, knowledge, YES or NO.

 That you shall love one another as I have

 All men will know that you are my

 The commandments of God’s law is summarized in

 The perfection of the law is

 Will we live faith in heaven?

 Will we live hope in heaven?

  Will we live charity in heaven?






  Main ideas

1. Charity, a supernatural virtue

   As we have seen, charity is one of the three theological virtues infused by God in will, with which we love God above all things – for being who He is – as well as ourselves and our neighbors for God’s sake. Since virtue instills the Holy Spirit, and it enables us to love God as He is, it is a supernatural gift. With the same charity with which we will love heaven forever, we also love the earth.

    Charity can be weakened as a result of venial sins, and is lost when a mortal sin is committed. To recover from sin, it is necessary to turn to sacramental confession. If we carry out acts of love for God and love our neighbor through good works, the virtue of charity will increase in us.

2. Love God above all things

   The first obligation that humans have - the biggest one there is - is to love God “with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength” (Mark 12:30); that is, we love God above all things. He has created us, He is infinitely worthy of being loved and He has loved us even before.

    And when do we love God above all things? When we comply with the commandments, willing to lose everything instead of separating ourselves from Him due to sin.

3. The love for our own self

   Within the virtue of charity love for the self is also found; but clearly it must be an ordained love, looking for the real well-being of the soul and body in relation to eternal life. If we ever would want something that would separate us from God, then we really would not love our own self, since we would be deviating from our real goal that is the only thing that can make us happy.

  B. Answers by choosing from the following options: things, riches, Mary, God, venial, mortal, communion, confession, commandments, sacraments, body or soul.

 Due to charity, we love God above all

 We love our neighbor and ourselves because we love

 Charity is lost with this type of sin

  Charity is weakened by sin

 To regain charity one must turn to

 We love God above all things by complying with the

 We love ourselves by looking out for the well-being of the


4. The love for your neighbor

   A Christian cannot say to love God if he or she does not love their neighbor. As St. John warns, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20). The reasons that Christian fraternity are founded upon are clear: we are all children of the same heavenly Father and therefore siblings; we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and we are destined for heaven. Christ even identifies himself with others to urge us to love: “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40).

    So we have to love others because we love God. Pure sympathy, admiration or altruism, are not the charity that Christ asks of us.

5. The commandment of Christ embraces everyone

   The Lord left love in his testament: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35). He put his life as an example and taught us to love others by being kind in coexistence, understanding, apologizing and forgiving.

    The love for our neighbors implies respect for their rights of justice, but it also requires the practice of merciful works helping them in their spiritual and material needs. And we cannot exclude anyone, not even our enemies: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28).

    6. The works of mercy

   To graphically show how to live charity, Jesus Christ proposed the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30 - 37). Indeed He is the Good Samaritan, who healed our wounds with his infinite merciful love. When we practice merciful works - the seven corporal and the seven spiritual - we started looking like his Heart, with which we learn how to feed the hungry, teach the ignorant, give good advice, correct, forgive, comfort, suffer patiently, pray to God for everything, etc.

7. Orderly Charity

   Charity demands loving God first and then others. There is a hierarchy in the love of God and the neighbor, as there is an order in the love for humans. In the love of thy neighbor, we are obliged to love more those who are closest to us: parents, siblings, priest, teachers, friends; after which come those who need spiritual and material assistance. In the love for ourselves, our spiritual need comes before the material needs of others.


Catechesis course. Don Jaime Pujol Balcells and Don Jesus Sancho Bielsa. EUNSA. Navarra. 1982. With the permission of the authors.


  C. Answer by choosing one of these options: known, neighbors, siblings, colleagues, heavenly, human, aggressive, kind, forgive, hate, enemies, animals, American, Samaritan, mercy or sympathy.

 A Christian cannot say he or she loves God if he or she does not love

 We love others because we are

 We are all children of this type of Father

 While coexisting with others we shall be

 We have to understand and

 Jesus said to love your

 Jesus proposed the parable of the Good

 We live charity when we practice works of


  Catechisms Questions

1. What is the main virtue of a Christian?  The main virtue of the Christian is charity.

2. Can we love God without loving our siblings?  We cannot love God if we do not love our siblings.

3. How can we love ourselves?  We have to love ourselves by seeking the true well-being of the soul and body in relation to eternal life.

4. Who are our neighbors?  Our neighbors are all humans, even our enemies.

5. Why should we love our neighbors?  We must love our neighbors because all humans are siblings, children of the same heavenly Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and all destined for the same heaven.

6. Why must we also love our enemies?  We must also love our enemies because they are our siblings, and because Jesus Christ commanded, and he taught us by example.

7. How do we exercise the love for our neighbor?  We can exercise the love for our neighbor mainly with respecting their rights of justice, and practicing the works of mercy.

  D. Choose the correct answer button. Below are possible answers:

 QUESTIONS

 ANSWERS

  What is the main virtue of a Christian?

  Can we love God without loving our siblings?

  How can we love ourselves?

  Who are our neighbors?

  Why should we love our neighbors?

  Why must we also love our enemies?

  How do we exercise the love for our neighbor?


 POSSIBLE ANSWERS

 A

 We have to love ourselves by seeking the true well-being of the soul and body in relation to eternal life.

 B

 We cannot love God if we do not love our siblings.

 C

 We must love our neighbors because all humans are siblings, children of the same heavenly Father, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and all destined for the same heaven.

 D

 We can exercise the love for our neighbor mainly with respecting their rights of justice, and practicing the works of mercy.

 E

 The main virtue of the Christian is charity.

 F

 We must also love our enemies because they are our siblings, and because Jesus Christ commanded, and he taught us by example.

 G

 Our neighbors are all humans, even our enemies.

  Purposes of Christian life:

- Learn the works of mercy (they are found in the “Profession of Faith” section).

- Get used to carry out true works for the love of God, because what is done big or small acquires a supernatural merit.

- Prove the love of God, by seeing if we help others in deed and in truth.



 
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