- is the sign of liberation from the false self
- grows as a result of acts of mercy and fidelity to prayer
- leads to total self-surrender to God and the compassionate love of others
- tends to the continuous and loving awareness of the presence of God
- heals enormous amounts of negativity in our thoughts and actions
- welcomes those who are physically or emotionally repulsive
- loves in the face of opposition and persecution
- forgives everyone and everything
Charity is also known as ‘divine love’ * and ‘agape’, a Greek term for unconditional love.
- OMOH: 45, 103, 129, 132
- *OMOH: 34, 35, 109, 160, 165
- HW: 14, 20, 21
- BP: 107
- FG: 16, 17, 26, 27, 110
- AW: 117-118
- IG: 150
- CF: 68
- MC: 89
- TS: 52
The first Fruit of the Spirit is Charity or, in the Greek, Agape which means self-giving love as distinct from self-seeking love. Most of us know love as desiring something or someone. This is the kind of love the Greeks called Eros, a powerful and necessary kind of love, but one that is meant to grow into the self-giving love that the Gospel calls charity. Charity is not the same as almsgiving. It is rather a participation in God’s unconditional love.
Charity is the first Fruit of the Spirit. It is self-giving love as distinct from self-seeking love. Most of us understand love as desiring something or someone. This is what the Greeks called Eros, a powerful and necessary love which can grow into the self-giving love that the Gospels call charity. Through the practice of charity, we participate in God’s unconditional love, unwind habitual, negative attitudes and love people whom we may normally dislike or despise. Faith in God’s presence in others enables us to overlook personality and character defects that we find difficult. We begin to accept and one day, may welcome them.
Charity’s growth leads to total self-surrender to God and to the compassionate love of others. Charity grows as a result of acts of mercy, fidelity to prayer and through the way we relate to other people. Charity can overcome an enormous amount of negativity. The quality of Christ’s love is the source of charity’s vitality. The continuous tender and loving awareness of the presence of God is charity’s reward.
Accepting the movement of the Spirit enables the life of the Spirit to increase in us so that we are able to love one another as Jesus has loved us. God’s unconditional love is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and continually shows love no matter what happens, even in the face of opposition and persecution.
Where does charity come from? It is infused in the silent seedbed of contemplative prayer. It is the sign of liberation from the false self and the growing awareness of the True Self. Flowing from this deepening insight is the acceptance of the present moment without trying to change it.
Charity is self giving love as distinct from self seeking love. Charity leads to compassion.
Are you self seeking or self giving? How might charity heal negativity?
Love in the face of persecution. Welcome those who seem repulsive. Notice signs of liberation from the false self.