For the love of His charity

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, made clear what constitutes our adult Godly virtues, when he related, ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.’

Let us acknowledge there is no overt exclamation of love in this Scripture as we, regrettably acknowledging  the vagaries of the English language, may be somehow baffled by the lack of the familiar expression. Yet, if charity is the greatest virtue, then this must be a form of love. In truth, this is the greatest expression of God’s love for us as, in His charity, we may be forgiven in our sin-fullness.

We Christians are supposed to be concerned with Godly virtue, or the living out of the life that Christ Jesus has called for us to live in Him, and through Him. Holy Scripture tells us Jesus led a virtuous life, as it was filled with the expressions of His charitable love for everyone He met. If they were ill, He healed them. If they were sinners, He forgave them and said, ‘Sin no more.’ If they were possessed with devils, He freed them from their demons. If they had questions, He answered them. Pure virtue resided within Him.

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All of these good works, all of these virtuous acts, were based on our Lord’s abiding love for all mankind. In His charity, He healed out of love. He forgave out of love. He set people free out of love. By Jesus’ example and words, we should do less than to show our love for each other, as Jesus Christ showed His love for everyone He met. As truly believing Christians, we are called to do no less in our thoughts, words and deeds.

The loving grace of charitable forgiveness finds its expression in our forgiving those who have harmed us in some way. If we do not forgive them, then we will not be forgiven. This is the requirement for of our own forgiveness, and of all other gifts of grace, given to us by God.

As we have been given many Godly graces, by His charity, we must use them to help others in virtuous ways, or in the end our graces will do us, and our neighbors, no good at all. It is the same with all things given to us in this world. We must use them in charitable virtuous ways, or His grace will do us no good at all.

In the Gospel of Luke, Our Lord so clearly expresses it, when He was asked how we should pray to God, he said, ‘And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.’ Yes, charity, His love given to us by the grace of God, for us and all.

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins