Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Monday, April 26, 2010

Peace to Men of Goodwill

I contributed to society the other day.

Yep, with Jackie, Dillon, and Virginia I went to Goodwill and shopped, acquiring six or seven ties, two suit jackets (summer), Trivial Pursuit, a mantle clock, silverware for the room next year and a couple other things.

I actually don't feel like I even gave anything to the poor, seeing as I got so much out of it for like, nothing. All in all it was $20. Well at least it's something.

Charity is an interesting thing. People so often think of it as monetary gift to someone less fortunate. (as a disclaimer, I really am not a fan of the word "marginalized" I don't know why.) I think charity is much more. And I think to find out what it means, we have to look at examples. I'd suggest Mary, Theotokos

We first learn of Mary in Matthew's Gospel. Her first "scene" so to speak is when the Magi come to worship Christ. They came to the house and the found the child with Mary his mother. It is through Mary that we can approach Christ and worship him. I think we can take out first lesson in charity from this scene. Mary shows Christ to the Magi in the "epiphany" (or more precisely, theophany). Charity is showing Christ to others. He is Truth and Love. And He is salvation. If we show people all these things, we will have participated in Charity,

We also find Mary, after humbly accepting the Savior into her womb, going to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. Even though she herself will need care soon, and was probably a little overwhelmed by the recent actions of God, she still finds it in her heart to serve her cousin when she needed help. This is another action of Charity. It is often referred to as "Service". (Virginia will attest to the validity of this form of Charity) Direct, personal aid for someone with no return. It was not for bragging rights, not for money, not for a resume that Mary visited Elizabeth, It was because she cared for her. Our hidden service is Charity. Our ostentatious service is Pride, and although it may accomplish good, it is not a virtuous action in the same way that "secret service" is. To truly serve without notice is Charity.

At the wedding at Cana, Mary asks her Son to help her friends the bride and bridegroom. He does it. Now may people comment how this shows that Christ will do anything for His Mother, even the most mundane task of turning water into wine. I would take a different approach. If we are to imitate Mary, we must learn to intercede on the behalf of others, even in the everyday things, It is said that St, Therese converted more sinners by her prayer than Francis Xavier did in all his missionary work. This is truly the work of Charity, to devote time and energy to praying to God on others' behalves. Mary did it, and her Son listened. He will listen to our prayers of Charity.

The last example is more general. Mary's suffering. Of course she endures seeing her Son die on the cross, which in itself is probably the hardest thing. But besides that, she has to flee to Egypt, lose Christ in the temple, watch him be hounded by the authorities. Her life is full of suffering, However, she knows that she must fulfill God's will. If that involves suffering, let it be done. It is for the salvation of souls, the highest law. We too can suffer for the sake of others and especially for their salvation. This is charity.

It is only through God's grace that we can truly develop this virtue. Mary, Immaculately conceived, was "full of grace". She developed charity better than anyone else. Grace, the life of God, is breathed into us by the Holy Spirit and since it is a life of Charity, we receive Charity. This is the great thing about the sacraments. An outward sign of an inward grace. A source of Charity.

I think that no matter how important gifts of money are to helping the poor, and they are indeed very important, we cannot forget that the human person is more than the body. A person is a body and a soul. The soul needs salvation and life. To work with God in granting that salvation is the highest act of charity we can do, for only in salvation is a person fully happy.

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