Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Three Theological Virtues; Faith, Hope, and...


“Three Hail Marys for the three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love--”
“It’s actually Charity, pet.”
“I thought it was Love...we used to say Love...”
“But Charity means so much more than Love. Don’t you think so?”

I am not one to kick up a fuss simply over one, small, simple word in a great Rosary, which gives glory to the Blessed Mother no matter if one says Charity or Love, but this particular word I happen to have quite set ideas about, so I do not think that Charity should be used instead of Love. Despite charity being a rather archaic word (and I do love archaic words and use them often) I believe Love to better fit as the third and last Theological Virtue.  

  This point may be argued. The Greek word agape translates to mean both charity and love, but those two words are very, very, different. Here is my opinion on the matter.

  You see, charity is defined, typically, as ‘the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.’ While this is undoubtedly a very laudable and Catholic practice--why else, after all, are there charity boxes in our churches--love in fact does have a much deeper meaning.

  Charity is being kind. It is being nice to people, whether you like it or not. It is patience. It is also respect. It is putting up, perhaps, with an annoying sibling. It is saying sorry first. You can put money in the poor box just because your conscience tells you you should, but there will be not a spark of love when that kind of charity is the reason. There are many more things that charity is, also, but there is one thing that it is most definitely not; charity is not love, hence the two words cannot be interchanged.

  Love is all that charity is and more. Charity is being nice to people whether you like it or not, but love is being nice to them anyway, without even thinking of yourself. Love is in and of itself a kind of charity. To quote St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 13.13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

The greatest indeed of these is love. Love is giving yourself selflessly. It is the ultimate form of charity. God gave us Jesus, who was Himself God. Can there be anything more loving than giving yourself to save mankind? Love is so much more than charity. We should pray to love our friends and families as much as God loves us. When we attain that love, then we can hope to have gained true charity also. And what better way than to pray for Faith, Hope, and Love? For there can be charity without love, but never can there be love without charity.

Maura Tuffy

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