Sunday, March 2, 2014

Quinquagesima Sunday: "Fratres: Si linguis hóminum loquar, et Angelórum, caritátem autem non hábeam, factus sum velut æs sonans, aut cýmbalum tínniens."

[1] If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. [2] And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. [3] And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. [4] Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; [5] Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; [6] Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; [7] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. [8] Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. (1 Corinthians 13) " 'If I . . . have not charity," says the Apostle, "I am nothing." Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, "if I . . . have not charity, I gain nothing."103 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.'"104 (CCC 1826) "The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which 'binds everything together in perfect harmony';105 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 to love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love." (CCC 1827) "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'" 106 (CCC 1828) "If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. 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."107 "The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest."108 (CCC 1829)

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