Thursday, April 13, 2006

Deus Caritas Est - Christian and Ecclesial Charity

The Pope has much to say in regards to this, and I will simply sum it up for the sake of time, and would encourage you again to read his entire encyclical to get to the depths of what he is attempting to teach us. Christian and ecclesial charity involve the supporting of material needs to those who are in need to living a dignified human life, such as feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. The next point is that our charitable activities are to be independent of parties and ideologies, because they cannot express the fullness of truth and justice, only Christ can do that.

Our charitable activity is to be done in the light of Christ only. Our love must not be a forceful imposition of God to the world. We must not proselytize the Gospel, because it is not something that can be forced, it must be experienced and affirmed through the yes of faith.

Understanding the basics behind Christian charity, we must now understand what is needed in order to be formed so that we can properly enact charity in the world. The Pope said that in order to carry out the charitable activities of the Church, we must first and foremost contemplate the love of Christ through prayer. We must spend much time in prayer, and fast and do penance for the spiritually poor. He emphasizes the need to serve all poor, and this includes the spiritually poor. By contemplating the life of Christ through the reading of scripture, through the rosary, through the reception of the Sacraments, and through simple contemplation in His presence in adoration, we are able to receive the graces necessary to fulfill the will of God in the charitable activities we do. Before his conclusion, Pope Benedict states that “Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world – this is the invitation I would like to extend to you with the present encyclical.” He then ends the encyclical by giving us examples of various Saints who enacted the love of God to others in their lives, such as our Martin of Tours, Blessed Mother Teresa, and our Holy Mother Mary, who gave herself completely over to God.


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