Characteristics of Fraternal Charity – Part 1 of 4

Father Valuy writes: “[Charity] cannot live with pride, the disease of a soul full of itself. It willingly prefers others by considering their good qualities and one’s own defects, and shows this exteriorly when occasion offers by many sincere proofs. It always looks on others from the most favourable point. Instead of closing the eyes on fifty virtues to find out one fault, without any other profit than to satisfy a natural perverseness and to excuse one’s own failings, it closes the eyes on fifty faults to open them on one virtue, with the double advantage of being edified and of blessing God, the Author of all good.”

“Egotism, taking for its motto ‘Every one for himself,’ is very much opposed to fraternal charity and the family spirit. It never hesitates, when occasion offers, to sacrifice the common good to its own. It isolates the individuals, makes them concentrated in self, places them in the community, but not of it, makes them strangers amongst their brethren.”

A person who has charity strives to “work harmoniously with those in the same employment, and not to cause any inconvenience to them. Why should we cling so obstinately to our own way of seeing and doing? Do not many ways and means serve the same ends provided they be employed wisely and perseveringly? Some have succeeded by their methods, and I by mine—a proof that success is reached through many ways, and that it is not by disputing it is obtained, nor by giving scandal to those we should edify, nor, perhaps, by compromising the good work in which we are employed.”

“Charity avoids haughty and contemptuous looks, . . . and in the midst of most pressing occupations carefully guards against rudeness and impatience. Careful of wounding the susceptibility of others, it neither blames nor despises those who act in an opposite way.”

“Be edified at the sight of your brethren’s virtues, and edify them by your own. In other words, be alternately disciple and master. Profit by the labours of others, and make them profit by your own.”

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

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