Tag Archives: charity

Fraternal love and correction essential, Pope reminds

Christ washing the feet Tintoretto.jpgOne of the themes from Oblate retreat this past weekend was humility. And from within the Gospel and Saint Benedict’s vision of humility Brother John Mark spoke about love and fraternal relations, particularly rubbing elbows in true charity with your brother and sister in community. A stone is only polished when it meets other stones.

Pope Benedict brings up the human desire to be in community with other other people: how good it is for brothers and sisters to live in unity, St Paul says. But this unity and love have one condition: “You will love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:8-10). Some take this point as an easy thing to do. I assure you, it is not. This past Sunday’s Scripture readings teach this point.
In his Rule, Saint Benedict places a strong emphasis on mutual responsibility (“a reciporcal responsibility” the Pope calls it) and charity toward the other person is lived only in a personal way. Benedict XVI argues as Saint Benedict did before him, “that there is a co-responsibility in the journey of the Christian life: everyone, conscious of his own limits and defects, is called to welcome fraternal correction and to help others with this particular service [of forgiveness and healing injuries].

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Charitable work and the common fund: 2 wings of the Christian witness

candles.jpgI always look for evidence –that is, I am looking for light on a situation that may not be very clear for me– i.e., for the reality, the truth and beauty of a vigorous Catholic life by seeing if people are willing to live the Gospel. We do our best given the graces we’ve received and our own open hearts. I find myself in need to know that others belief that that the promises (and extraordinary claims) of Christ are true and are lived. Novel, right? Not really. We Catholics have been concerned for the welfare of others since the time Jesus and because our Christianity has its roots in Judaism, even before Jesus. Just read the Old Testament and dig into the narrative there. But it is Jesus gives a new lens by which to see life and to live differently today by the fact of the Paschal Mystery (His life, death, resurrection and ascension).

When one follows the lay ecclesial movement of Communion and Liberation (CL) you quickly find out that you belong to a group of friends larger than oneself and that we aim to care for the needs (the faith, education, culture, social assistance) of others. The idea is rooted in what we read int he Acts of the Apostles and various letters of Saint Paul. Our doing good is not just another forum of activism. It is based on the Savior’s life and example.
Here are two points made by Father Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation and the successor of Father Luigi Giussani, to flesh out these two wings of our companionship –either as Catholics who live their life only in the parish, and for those who belong to a group like CL.

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Boston’s Charity’s Appeal

I love this picture. Don’t you?
Boston Appeal poster.jpg

Charity is the only good reason to do anything

The Cistercian
monk, philosopher and theologian Isaac of Stella (1100-1169) was featured in
the Office of Readings today: Charity is the reason why anything should be done
or left undone.

Charity is the only good reason to do anything, but it also
sometimes demands that we not do something we might think we want to do. There
are a lot of fine distinctions one has to make in this area to live spiritually
in common life and ministry. For example:

  • We are called to support one another,
    but not to enable maladaptive behaviors, debilitating addictions, and sins. We
    must bear with the burdens of others, and be willing to wash feet, but we
    should not take responsibility for the feelings of others.
  • We must seek ways to
    invite both individuals and institutions to benefit from our strengths, and
    invite them into the success that derives from them,
    but–again–we should be
    careful not to take interior or exterior responsibility for situations that the
    Holy Spirit
    has not, or not yet, seen fit to put in our care.
  • Sometimes the
    greatest charity–and often the most painful–is not giving someone what he
    thinks he wants
  • We must be good to ourselves, practicing good self-care, but
    that doesn’t mean taking it easy and just ‘being nice’ to ourselves. On the one
    hand, we must not be so hard on ourselves that our whole spiritual life becomes
    a rehearsal of faults and sins, for this is one of the devil’s tricks in making
    us fail to notice God, and on the other we must also be careful not be overly
    forgiving of ourselves so as to effectively give up struggling with certain
    selfishnesses and sins.
  • We must practice the sort of self-charity that
    nourishes our gifts and virtues
    , and is ruthless in the unwillingness to put up
    with sin.
Thanks to my friend Friar Charles for providing grist for the mill.

Trappist monks donate coffin to bury little Christina Green in Arizona

green's casket.jpg

A beautiful of gesture of charity and hope was given to us as a witness of gospel virtue by the monks of a Trappist monastery in Iowa this week when they gave the Green family the casket in which to bury 9 year old Christina, a victim of the shootings last week. The CNN story is here.

Special thanks to Dom Brendan and the monks of New Melleray Abbey!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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