We cannot speak about charity unless we start with the heart of Jesus.
Charity is not an emotion.
Charity is a participation in the love with which God loves us, in the love that is manifested in the Sacrifice of the Mass. When Christians hear the word charity, they think of giving a little money to the poor or to a charitable organization. It is about much more than that. Charity is the blood that courses through the heart of Jesus. Charity is the love that gives itself to the point of death. Love causes us to embrace God himself; it makes us enter into his Trinitarian communion where everything is love. Charity manifests the presence of God in the soul. Saint Augustine said it clearly: "If you see charity, you see the Trinity," because God is charity...
At the heart of our religion is this discovery of charity that gives the saints such a disconcerting countenance. A saint is someone who, fascinated by the beauty of God, gives up everything, even himself, and enters into the great movement of return to the Father that was initiated by Christ. We are all called to it. I want to repeat to all Christians: we are called to renounce everything, even ourselves, out of love for God…. We have to live out this radical renunciation, each one in his state of life. We all have to experience the truth that God's love is enough...
I want to insist on this point. Christian charity makes me love my brethren for God and in God. When Mother Teresa held the hand of a dying person, she loved Christ in agony in that person. Mother Teresa, and the community of nuns that follows in her footsteps, have given us the example. She always set as the first condition for establishing her foundations the presence of a tabernacle. Without the presence of the love of God who gives himself, it would not have been possible to carry out that apostolate, it would not have been possible to live in such self-abandonment; only by entering into this abandonment in God, into this adventure of God, into this humility of God, could she accomplish, with her sisters, this great act of love, this openness to everyone.
On the other hand, the cardinal said, "by respecting and promoting the idealism of young people, they can become the most precious resource for a society that wants to grow and improve."
Robert Cardinal Sarah. "Charity and the heart of Jesus." The Day Is Now Far Spent (San Francisco, CA, Ignatius Press, 2019)
Reprinted with permission of Ignatius Press.
Robert Cardinal Sarah (born 15 June 1945) is a Guinean Cardinal Prelate of the Catholic Church. He was appointed as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis on 23 November 2014. He previously served as Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. He is the author of The Day Is Now Far Spent, The Power of Silence Against the Dictatorship of Noise and God or Nothing: A Conversation on Faith.Copyright © 2019 Ignatius Press
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