Dependency and Charity

April 7, 2014

At the Terrace of the Glacier Café by Leon Joseph and Jules Voirin

At the Terrace of the Glacier Café by Leon Joseph and Jules Voirin

When this dependency is practiced with the fervor of Christian charity, we witness an excellence in the love of neighbors that goes beyond that of exercising patience and forbearance towards them. It also means admiring in others that which we ourselves lack. Charity includes taking delight in the qualities and richness of others, even experiencing joy in the very qualities in others that complement our own shortcomings. These qualities are but reflections of the Divine Perfection in God, and our joy is analogous to what we will possess when contemplating God, who satisfies all our shortcomings. Ultimately, admiration of others leads us to a greater love of God.

Sisters giving to the poor, painted by François Bonvin.

Sisters giving to the poor, painted by François Bonvin.

When dependency unites with charity, there is not only the joy of giving but also the joy of receiving from others. Christian civilization was full of enriching dependencies allowing all to receive help without humiliation and to give aid with humility.

Painting by Joaquin Pallares y Allustante

Painting by Joaquin Pallares y Allustante

This gives rise to temperate relationships free of self-interest. It leads to an objective judgment of people since all came to admire and pay homage to those who deserve it, pity and help those who need it, and rejoice together with those of similar circumstance. Within the limits of our fallen nature, this objective vision makes human society delightful because such relationships create an atmosphere of trust. Such temperate souls are like brother souls—next to which the fraternité of the French Revolution is but a worthless parody.

School Master Teaching A Young Girl To Read. Painting by Quiringh Gerritsz van Brekelenkam

School Master Teaching A Young Girl To Read. Painting by Quiringh Gerritsz van Brekelenkam

Thus, the needy receive alms without shame. The craftsman receives the apprentice like a family member. And the king solicits advice from his council with earnest attention. All seek God’s grace with humble yet loving supplication.

 

John Horvat, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 287.

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