Thought for the Day – 29 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
More About Almsgiving
“The description of the Last Judgement in the twenty fifth chapter of St Matthew’s Gospel would shock many people, if they were to read it.
The principles, in accordance with which, Christ will pronounce sentence are inescapably clear.
Did you feed and clothe the poor for My sake, He will ask because you recognised Me in them?
If, you have done so, you will certainly be saved.
If, you have neglected to do so, you will be condemned for all eternity.
Christ does not ask about anything else because, everything else is subordinate to the precept of charity.
Where there is charity, everything else follows.
Where charity is lacking, there is nothing else because, Christianity is synonymouse with charity.
Charity, says St Paul, “is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).
“If I should speak with the tongue of men and of Angels,” St Paul says elsewhere, “but have not charity, I have become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal … and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, yet have not charity, I am nothing. And if I distribute all my goods to feed the poor … yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing” (Cf 1 Cor 13:1-3).
So, our eternal salvation depends on our charity.
But it must be charity in action, not merely in words.
“He who has the goods of this world,” says St John “and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 Jn 3:17).
Charity must be expressed in almsgiving and good works, for otherwise, it would be a matter of idle talk which would be powerless to save us.
Our almsgiving should not be dictated simply by natural feelings of compassion, however, nor by mere philanthropy.
It should be pre-eminently a religious act, springing from supernatural motives.
Because we see the person of Christ in the poor man, we should love and help him as we should our Diving Redeemer.
This is real Christian charity.
A proud man may also be liberal in giving away money in order to draw attention to himself.
But this is not Christian almsgiving which is never the product of self-love but of the love of God.
Let us be more generous in giving, therefore but, let us always give from the supernatural motive of Christian charity.”