I have found myself saying many times these past few days what the word charity means. In school, in the convent, in the Internet world it has been all about charity, charity, and more charity. But what is charity. This is far from a scholarly blog but one that focuses on the heart of the matter. St. Alphonsus suggests a virtue of the month as a primary point of his spirituality. The virtue for February is usually hope and March is charity. So in anticipation of this month I would like to share my own thoughts.
On the first Sunday of each month our sisters have a retreat day with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and silence through the convent. Each retreat day I try to make a plan of one concrete thing I can do to practice the virtue of the month. This month for charity I am thinking of a person and not an act. It seems to me that charity is not something we just do for the sake of doing it, or because somewhere in our hearts we know it is right - although both of those are good starting points. I'm thinking though that right now, for me, I need to focus on what being charitable says. I think it says that someone has dignity, that they are a gift from God to the world, and that they are loved not for their abilities or specialty, but above all because they are a good creation.
Wow, that sounds pretty good to me... but does it ring true when I apply that to the sister who is cranky and seems perpetually upset with me? YES, it just doesn't feel as mushy inside. What I mean to say is that feelings are important to me, to you, and to everyone, but feelings only aide in the understanding of the self which is a necessary step towards holiness. I feel annoyed and frustrated when this sister is uncharitable to me. That feeling calls me ever deeper to give myself in love to her. It is the way of the Cross in community.
So, my March resolution is to look at everyone - whether it be a sister, a student, or a faculty member - as a special creation of God, good and important to His plan in the world.
Is there someone who you feel this way about?
"Friends on earth find such pleasure in being together, that they lose entire days in each other’s company: with Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, those who love Him not get weary. After her death, St. Teresa who was already in heaven, said to a nun: ‘Those who are in heaven and those who are on earth should be one and the same in purity and in love; we enjoying, and you suffering; and that which we do in heaven with the Divine Essence, you should do on earth with the Most Blessed Sacrament.’ Behold, then, our paradise on earth; – the Most Blessed Sacrament."