True Charity

13 Apr

“True charity consists in doing good to those who do us evil, and in thus winning them over.”  ~ St. Alphonsus Liguori

There is a piece of scripture that I reflect upon quite often.  There are many times that it inspires me to do better.  There are other times that it indicts me for not doing enough.  In the Gospel of Luke, we hear, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Lk 6:32)  That phrase from Jesus is like a punch in the gut.

Jesus was speaking to people who were trying to be holy by following all the rules of the faith.  Yet, in their attempt to be holy in the strict legalistic sense, they missed what holiness was all about.  They would be kind as long as it served their purpose.  They would love those for whom they cared.  Their faith, in many ways, was quite selfish.  Jesus told them that the practice of sinners was just as selfish.

Alphonsus Liguori revisited Jesus’ saying in today’s quote when he reminded his people that true charity consisted in doing good to those who do us evil in order to win them over.  If we just do good to those whom we love, we gain nothing.  We are, in a sense, “preaching to the choir”.  We are not winning people over, we are merely making points among our friends.

True love.  Yes, that is the phrase.  True love is a love that reaches out to all and transforms all, good and bad.  True love never fails.  True love will provide for anyone in need.  True love is what Jesus was all about and is what God truly is.

We can be true love as well as long as we reach out to all people, even those who hate us and wish ill upon us.  That is the truest test of our love.  Try not to fail that test today.

FAITH ACTION Do good to everybody you encounter today, beginning with those you typically ignore.