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The great commandment // What is Charity?

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The great commandment // What is Charity?

Let us deepen our faith by learning more from the teaching of the church contained in the catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) we learn more about the great commandment.

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What is Charity? (CCC 1822 – 1829, 1844)

1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God.

1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment on. John 13:34. By loving his own to the end on John 13:1. He makes manifest the father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: ‘as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.’ And again; ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ on. John 15: 9, 12).

1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still ‘enemies (Rm. 5: 10) The Lord ask us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbour of those furthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.(Mt.5:44)

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Cor.13:4-7)

1826 ‘if I… have no charity ‘, says the Apostle, ‘I am nothing. Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, ‘if I… have no charity, I gain nothing. ‘Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues: ‘so faith, hope, charity abide, these three. But the greatest of these is charity,’ (1 Cor. 13:13)

1827 The practise of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which ‘binds everything together in perfect harmony’; (Col. 3:14). It is the form of the virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds and purifies our human ability you love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love.

1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who ‘first loved us’.

If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of salves. If we pursue the enticement of wages. We resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands…we are in the position of children.

1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested had generous: it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfilment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run towards it and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest. (St. Augustine in Ep In. 10:14)

How is charity the new law or the law of the Gospel? (CCC 1965 – 1974)

1965 The New law or the law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity: ‘I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel… I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Heb. 8:8-10)

1966 The New Law is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful through faith in Christ. It works through charity; it uses the Sermon on the Mount to teach us what must be clone and makes use of the sacraments to give us grace to do it:

If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in the Gospel of saint Matthew, he will doubtless find there…the perfect way of the Christian life. This sermon contains…all the precepts needed to shapes one’s life.

1967 The Law of the Gospel ‘fulfils’, refines, surpasses and leads the Old Law to it perfection. In The Beatitudes, the New Law fulfils the divine promises by elevating and orienting them towards the kingdom of heaven’. It is addressed to those open to accepting this new hope with faith – the poor, the humble, the afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ – and so marks out the surprising ways of the kingdom(Mt.5:17-19).

1970 The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between ‘the two ways’ and to put into practice the words of the Lord. It is summed up in the Golden Rule, ’whatever you wish that men would do to you, do to them: this is the law and the prophets. (Mt. 7; 13-14, 21-27; LK.6:31)

Let us pray.

O God, our Father, we are helpless because of the difference between what we ought to do and what in fact we can do. By your Holy Spirit, break for us the habits we cannot break; conquer for us the fears we cannot conquer; answer for us the questions no human wisdom can answer. We ask you this through your son, who promised to go to you to send us the Holy Spirit now and forever. AMEN!

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