In life it is faith that starts us off, but it is charity that keeps us going in any undertaking in life. Little acts of charity can awaken life-giving confidence in you and in others. Charity can be enacted in many ways, such as giving food and clothes to the needy, cheerful care of the sick, a warm greeting or smile to the people that you meet, or even listening to a friend’s worries. As the saying goes ‘Charity sees the need not the cause’. As usual a story from my Nana Scully’s prayer book might help us understand more.
Balance of Love in the world
A 91-year-old woman died after living a very long dignified life. When she met God, she asked Him something that had really bothered her for a very long time. “If Man was created in God’s image, and if all people are created equal, why do people treat each other so badly?” God replied that each person who enters our life has a unique lesson to teach us. It is only through these lessons that we learn about life, people and our relationships with God. This confused the woman, so God began to explain:
“When someone lies to you, it teaches you that things are not always what they seem. The truth is often far beneath the surface. Look beyond the masks people wear if you want to know what is in their hearts. When someone steals from you, it teaches you that nothing is forever. Always appreciate what you have. You never know when you might lose it. Never take your friends or family for granted. When someone inflicts injury upon you, it teaches you that the human state is a very fragile one. Protect and take care of your body as best as you can; it’s the one thing that you are sure to have forever. When someone mocks you, it teaches you that no two people are alike. When you encounter people who are different from you, do not judge them by how they look or act. Instead, base it on the contents of what is in their hearts.
When someone breaks your heart, it teaches you that loving someone does not always mean that the person will love you back. But don’t turn your back on love because when you find the right person, the joy that one person brings you will make up for all of your past hurts. When someone holds a grudge against you, it teaches you that everyone makes mistakes. When you are wronged, the most virtuous thing you can do is forgive the offender without pretense. Forgiving those who have hurt us is often the most difficult and painful of life’s experiences, but it is also the most courageous thing a person can do. When a loved one is unfaithful to you, it teaches you that resisting temptation is Man’s greatest challenge. Be vigilant in your resistance against all temptations. By doing so, you will be rewarded with an enduring sense of satisfaction far greater than the temporary pleasure by which you were tempted. Aspire to make your dreams come true. Do not feel guilty about your success, but never let an obsession with achieving your goals lead you to engage in malevolent activities. When someone ridicules you, it teaches you that nobody is perfect. Accept people for their merits and be tolerant of their flaws.”
Love is the Greatest Gift
Upon hearing the Lord’s wisdom, the old woman became concerned that there are no lessons to be learned from people’s good deeds and works of charity. God replied that Man’s capacity to love is the greatest gift He has. Each act of love also teaches us a lesson. The woman’s curiosity deepened. God, once again began to explain: “When someone loves us, it teaches us love, kindness, charity, honesty, humility, forgiveness, acceptance, and all of these can counteract all the evil in the world. For every good deed, there is one evil deed. Man alone has the power to control the balance between good and evil, but because the lessons of love are not taught often enough, the power is too often abused. When you enter someone’s life, whether by plan, chance or coincidence, consider what your lesson will be. Will you teach love or a harsh lesson of reality? When you die, will your life have resulted in more loving or more hurting? More comfort or more pain? More joy or more sadness? Each one of us has the power over the balance of the love in the world. Use it wisely!”
Thought for the week
As you’re thought for the week, don’t miss an opportunity to nudge the world’s scale of love in the right direction!