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Charity, the supreme virtue 41 VAN HAARLEM, Cornelis The Good Samaritan 1627 Oil on panel, 32 x 23 cm Private collection.

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Presentation on theme: "Charity, the supreme virtue 41 VAN HAARLEM, Cornelis The Good Samaritan 1627 Oil on panel, 32 x 23 cm Private collection."— Presentation transcript:

1 Charity, the supreme virtue 41 VAN HAARLEM, Cornelis The Good Samaritan 1627 Oil on panel, 32 x 23 cm Private collection

2 Compendium of the Catechism 388. What is charity? 1822-1829 1844 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. Jesus makes charity the new commandment, the fullness of the law. It is the bond of perfection (Colossians 3:14) and the foundation of the other virtues to which it gives life, inspiration, and order. Without charity I am nothing and I gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

3 Introduction I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another that everyone will know that you are my disciples " (John 13:34-35). The commandments of Gods law can be summed up in two: to love God above all things and to love our neighbours as ourselves. Love is the perfection of the Law. Charity is the most important virtue for Christians, as pilgrims on earth and it will also be our main task in heaven. In heaven there will be no need of faith, since we shall see God face to face; neither will there be hope, because we shall have arrived at our goal. Only charity remains. FETI, Domenico Parable of the Good Samaritan c. 1623 Oil an canvas, 61 x 45 cm Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

4 Main ideas

5 1. Charity a supernatural virtue Charity is one of the three theological virtues infused by God in our will, so that we may love God, for Gods sake, above all things, and so that we may also love ourselves and our neighbours, for love of God. Charity is diminished by venial sins, and charity is lost when a mortal sin is committed. To recover charity it is necessary to avail of the sacrament of Confession. We can grow in charity by acts of love of God and by acts of love of our neighbour. GIOTTO di Bondone The Seven Virtues: Charity 1306 Fresco, 120 x 55 cm Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

6 2. To love God above all things The first and most important obligation of man is to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength; that is, above everything. God has created us, he is infinitely worth loving, and he has loved us first. We love God above all things when we keep his commandments; when we are ready to lose everything rather than separate ourselves from him by even a single sin. ALTDORFER, Albrecht Christ on the Cross between Mary and St John c. 1512 Limewood, 102 x 116 cm Staatliche Museen, Kassel

7 3. To love ourselves Loving oneself is part of the virtue of charity, but naturally it has to be an ordered love: seeking for ones soul and ones body the goods that are compatible with eternal life. If ever we were to love something that would distance us from God, we would not really be loving ourselves, because we would be separating ourselves from our real goal which is the only thing that can make us happy. GYSCRECHTS, Franciscus Vanitas Oil on canvas 45 1/4 x 52 3/4 inches (115 x 134 cm) Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

8 4. To love our neighbour Anyone who says 'I love God' and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20). Christ urges us to love him through our neighbour: " In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me " (Matthew 25:40). We have to love others for love of God. Neither empathy nor altruism alone measure up to the charity God expects from us. LOTH, Johann Karl The Good Samaritane c. 1676 Oil on canvas (oval), 125 x 108 cm Kunstsammlungen Graf von Schönborn, Pommersfelden

9 5. Christs commandment includes everybody "I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you " (John 13:34). By his example he taught us to love others in our daily life, with kindness, understanding and forgiveness. We cannot exclude anyone from our love, not even our enemies. But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly (Luke 6, 27-28). BROWN, Ford Madox (1821-1893) Jesus washing Peter's feet at the Last Supper Oil on canvas, 1865 Tate Gallery, London

10 6. The works of mercy Jesus Christ taught us the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10, 30-37). Jesus is the Good Samaritan who heals our wounds with his infinite merciful love. When we practise the works of mercy –the traditional seven spiritual and seven corporal works we become like him, feeding the hungry, teaching the ignorant, giving good counsel, correcting, forgiving, consoling, suffering with patience, praying to God for all, etc. CARAVAGGIO The Seven Acts of Mercy 1607 Oil on canvas, 390 x 260 cm Church of Pio Monte della Misericordia, Naples

11 7. Ordered charity Charity demands loving God first, and then our neighbour. As for loving others, there are some who should come first. Among our neighbours there are some we have a duty to love more, precisely because they are closer: parents, brothers, priests, teachers and friends; and then come those who are in need of spiritual and material help. Concerning love of ourselves, our spiritual needs come before the material needs of our neighbour. BOOTMAN, Colin (2003) One voice Private collection

12 Resolutions for Christian life

13 Resolutions to move forward Learn the works of mercy. You will find them in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Get used to doing things for love of God. Doing so makes our actions, be they big or small, supernaturally meritorious. We can gauge our love for God by the way we help others in deeds and in truth.

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