Characteristics of Fraternal Charity – Part 2 of 4

The author of The Imitation of Christ observes: “We would willingly have others perfect, and yet we mend not our own defects. We would have others strictly corrected, but are not fond of being corrected ourselves. The large liberty of others displeases us, and yet we do not wish to be denied anything we ask for. We are willing that others be bound up by laws, and we suffer not ourselves to be restrained by any means. Thus it is evident how seldom we weigh our neighbour in the same balance with ourselves.”

Father Valuy adds: “Charity is generous; it does everything it can. When even it can do little, it wishes to be able to do more. It never lets slip an opportunity of comforting, helping, and taking the most painful part, after the example of its Divine Model, Who came to serve, not to be served.”

A person animated by charity commiserates with his brethren, sharing in their joys and sorrows. “If, on the one hand, compassion sweetens pains to the sufferer by sharing them, on the other hand participation in a friend’s joys doubles them by making them personal to ourselves. Would to God that this touching and edifying charity replaced the low and rampant vice of jealousy!”

“When David returned after he slew the Philistines, the women came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul. And the women sang as they played, ‘Saul slew his thousands and David his ten thousands.’ Saul was exceedingly angry, and this word was displeasing in his eyes, and he said: ‘They have given David ten thousand, and to me they have given but a thousand. . . . And Saul did not look on David with a good eye from that day forward. . . . And Saul held a spear in his hand and threw it, thinking to nail David to the wall.’ (1 Sm 18:6-11) Thus it is that the jealous complain of their brethren who are more successful, learned, or praised; thus it is that they lance darts of calumny, denunciation, and revenge.”

Quotations from Benoit Valuy, Fraternal Charity (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1908).

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