But now that I'm, (all bow,) A Catechist, and that, let's face it, the word "charity" has also been debased, ("giving stuff you don't need to poor people,") I am more inclined to detoxify the word "Love."
It is a very difficult word for a ten year old boy to speak in the presence of a ten year old girl, even if he is addressing, rather than her, an old lady such as myself.
"Christian Love" seems to me a mouthful, and just as esoterically vague - and besides - non-Christians are very capable of offering caritas.
So for hashing out these things with kids, (and hash we do - the wonderful ideas they have! the marvelous questions thy can come up with!) I have settled on the phrase "Love in Action," and the reading from James on the first day of class made it very easy this year, (that's a great passage to let budding orators scold the air with.)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?... If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?...someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works...I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.That is what genuine good works are - Love in Action. (Because no one is going to argue with, "and the greatest of these...")
And yes, giving things, money, opportunities to those without things or money or opportunity is the kind of Love in Action/Charity that usually springs to mind.
And it is easy to be loving to someone who has less than you do, isn't it?
How much harder to fell charitable to those who seem to have more than you...
A guy I know, salt of the earth, giving, generous, very active in volunteer work, kind -- shocked me by getting on board with a rather ugly anti-immigrant stance someone else was taking, and I expressed surprise.
Well, it's not the immigrants per se, his liberality firmly in place, they are welcome, especially if they are political refugees in search of safety.
No, he is just "sick and tired of being asked to pay for things for people who are better off than I am."
And I thought to myself, "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—ungenerous, unkind, thoughtless — or even like this buddy of mine"
And because God isn't letting me get away with any thing lately, I'm watching the news, and there's a woman on who's thrilled because she just met the Pope, and she took of selfie with him with her phone.
She is not homeless, but Catholic Charities helps her out with her rent.
And what is my first thought?
What's she doing with a phone that takes pictures? My phone is too cheap to have a camera in it, and I'm dreading when it breaks and I have to buy a new one so I hope it happens in a good month, but the thing is already about 6 years old and wouldn't you think someone would pay his own darn rent before he'd get a phone that could -
O my God I am heartily sorry....