In considering some of the trials which the Church has been undergoing these years, I do believe that the ultimate test which the Lord has in mind for us is in our present time is that of Charity. If we didn’t have Faith we wouldn’t be sitting here; if we didn’t have Hope we’d probably not be here either.
Charity, as Fr. John Hardon, S.J., writes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, is the “infused supernatural virtue by which a person loves God above all things for his [God’s] own sake, and loves others for God’s sake.” That it’s a supernatural virtue means that it is given to us by the Lord; it’s an infused virtue – we usually think of tea when we think of an infusion these days. Anyone can experience charity, or love as it’s very well known, on a natural level. But being baptized into Christ Jesus allows us a share in the divine charity; “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom we have received.” (Rom 5:5)
In recent decades each generation has been taught something different about the Faith. We see this in the Priesthood, and have even had to attend workshops devoted to helping understand the phenomenon. Because people are taught different things, each expects different things. We see this here in those who want Holy Communion under both species, and those who do not. We see it between those who receive Communion in the hand, those who kneel, those who receive on the tongue, those who stand. Who’s right and who’s wrong, and whose fault is it the Faith is so divided? Without charity towards one another, we are nothing.
We also see the horrifying abuse scandals that have been revealed, and have to wonder not only how that came to be, but how the culture which aided it was allowed to flourish for several decades. The faith of many has been shaken, and we have to be charitable in our understanding as people struggle through the dark valleys of faith.
Many have endured terrible sufferings through loss of loved ones, family issues, dealing with illness, work stresses, or often simply by juggling family, work and prayer while striving to live a Catholic life and be transformed in Jesus Christ. Everyone is in a different place.
But the Lord is in charge and the victory is His. There’s no victory without trial, and our trails are always before us when we live lives of faith. Charity is what helps us to understand one another, to grow in wisdom of our situations, and to give ourselves over completely to the Lord God almighty. Without charity, without love, we are nothing.
It’s always a good virtue to keep at the forefront of our minds, so that we might use our free will to allow charity to grow in our hearts, to put it into practice, and to recognize it in others.
Prayers for a blessed week.