Monday, April 16, 2007

The Absence Of Charity

I was pointed towards a blog post on charity (or the lack thereof) today, and I wanted to add some words of my own to this topic.

It's too true that charity seems to have gone out the window, as it were, nowadays, which is terrible, especially considering it was one of the most pivotal teachings of Christ (through his words and his actions). I'm not merely referring to how much money we are willing to donate either, nor just our concern for the sick and the poor (in terms of material wealth); in many ways, there is a lack of charity in all our actions, with a greed of mind and spirit as well as the greed of the physical (food, money, etc.) that we are more than familiar with.

The thought of people thinking the phrase "God helps those who help themselves" is in the Bible is shocking, yet it doesn't surprise me. In Ireland we have (on average, last time I checked) around 95% Catholics, yet we'd probably be lucky if we had 5% who even knew the basic tenets of their faith. This lack of basic religious education is something that really irritates me (a survey was done here where a lot of people couldn't name the three persons of the Holy Trinity, which I find very astounding), and it's no wonder that basic Christian values are being lost when we replace a Christian (or even a basic moralistic) creed with the creed of greed and materialistic success.

Perhaps it's a disillusionment with Christianity in general, where there is a diminishment in belief in the afterlife, leading to a kind of panic-stricken world seeking to get as much as they can in the few short decades they have in this life. The idea of building your treasure in heaven has been replaced by a literal building of treasure on earth (or a figurative building of treasure in hell), and we are the jealous dragons guarding our hoard (how suitable that we would be this fiery beast, breathing the very flames that lick and lash at our neighbours in a self-created worldly hell). But how is it that the aforementioned "creed of greed" has come to be seen as something that was intended as the creed of Christianity, as the teachings of Christ? How can the self-sacrificing figure of Jesus, who welcomed the hated and the feared (lepers, women, tax collectors, etc.), not to mention his aspostles, who opened the path to Gentiles as well as Jews, be abused in this manner as some sort of excuse for our poor thoughts and deeds?

Many people may be richer in wealth, but they are not only poorer in time (as the common phrase goes), but are much poorer in spirit. I encourage everyone to regain a sense of basic Charity, whether you are Christian (of any denomination) or not. Let us be inspired by self-sacrifice and an unwavering love of our fellow man (and woman), to not only be kinder with our pocket (for there are many who donate blindly), but kinder with our thoughts, words, and actions.

May you be a participant in the Unwavering Love of God, in the Spirit of Ceaseless Charity.

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