Caritas vs. Charity

2018_05 11 God loves a cheerful giver

The great virtue known in Latin as “Caritas” is translated into English as “Charity.” Sadly, the word “charity” in English has come to mean:

1. an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.
2. the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines “charity” as:

“The theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.”

In Deus caritas est, Pope Benedict XVI called it:

“The love which God lavishes upon us and which we in turn must share with others.”

Perhaps today, we can each ask ourselves what “charity” means for us in our daily lives. One place to look at the quality of charity in our hearts is what kind of fruit our acts of charity produce.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also says,

The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy.”

Dear Lord, Increase in me, the virtue of charity that I may love as God loves with the selflessness of the Saints. Amen.

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