Monday, December 19, 2016

Mystic Hermit: Apostle Paul on Charity

The selection from number 1825 in The Catechism of the Catholic Church elicits the apostle Paul's thoughts on charity.

I awoke this morning very much pondering the Lord Jesus Christ and His desire not only for my life on earth but for whatever He wills of me in my legacy for others...right now, today.  I plan to address a few Christmas cards and include what notes I can.  Particularly I desire to thank those persons who have exhibited selfless love to me and others of which I have observed over the years.  

I will make a couple of phone calls today.  One is to inquire of an elderly woman who three weeks ago called and asked for prayers for her son-in-law--a cancer survivor of five years but who currently is having health problems.  He had agreed to undergo tests at a major city medical facility; I can appreciate why he did not want to begin the process despite his family so wanting him to undergo more of a painful path he's traversed in the past.

Another call is to a young woman who has been contacting me recently, but I was not in a mode of strength to be able to take the call.  I emailed her and explained and that I would call her when more able--after some other hurdles were behind me.  She understood, for she has been through many trials in her not-quite 30 years.  Since we had not spoken in a long time, it seemed best to not share the challenges, including high pain levels and medical professional obstacles.  I want to be "nice" without pain intruding into my tone, for the young woman deserves my loving attention to her life struggles.

My desire is to express to others the ways in which they are loving and that I appreciate how loving they have been to me over the years even if we have not seen one another for some time nor kept in touch. Being capable of loving others and of receiving love with the ability to love in return, is not bound by time or place.  

Truth is an inherent attribute within love.  The apostle Paul specifies (among other descriptors) as "kind."  In my recent simplification of my own desire to be more "nice"--to be "nice" again since I feel in self-observation and recent reactions to not-nice encounters as well as how I react in nice encounters--I could consider that love is also "nice."

"Nice" is what I consider a bland word, a simple word, a non-colorful descriptor.  "Nice" is like the plainness of snow, or of dirt, or of bland rice.  Yet in each of these objects, we know there is far more to snow, dirt, and rice in marvelous and substantive ways!  So I rather like the word "nice" due to the perhaps jarring, simpleton connotation that may be deceptive as to its basic truism of yet another form of charity, of decency, of love.

Now for the selection that iterates St. Paul's thoughts on love.  I am reminded that Paul certainly was not all that "nice" to the followers of Jesus Christ until he had a mystical experience in which the Lord shook Paul's personal world and spoke to him of Christ's desire and mission for Paul to fulfill, if he would agree.  And Paul agreed with such zeal and constancy that he has remained a major force for teaching Christ and converting people to Christianity over the centuries.

"Christ died out of love for us, while we were still 'enemies.'  The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.
"The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: 'charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.'"

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