St. Augustine wrote,
“Love has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. This is what love looks like.”
Implied in this beautiful quote are all of the pre-requisites that we have discussed regarding charity. First, we need to see charity for what it is meant to be — an act of love which participates in the Divine Love Who is God.
Next, we must have a proper intentionality of heart which seeks the best interest of another rather than our own best interest.
We must also have a supernatural outlook that helps us see the need of another — mercy vision, so to speak.
And finally, we must choose to meet the need we see.
In sum, our attitudes and actions tell us much about our charitable outlook. But, do we even know what they are? St. Teresa of Avila tells us that self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.
To that end, following is a test for you to take. It will be your Spiritual Exercise for today. This little test will help you determine to what extent your mercy vision needs to be adjusted.
Answer the questions honestly and with prayerful consideration. In the end, you will discover much about yourself and how you view charity, the very love of God in action.
Test Your Charity
1. Do I fulfill my daily duties grudgingly?
2. Am I happy to offer God the daily contradictions, trials, and sufferings I encounter?
3. Do I pray daily?
4. Do I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly?
5. Do I look for the face of God in my neighbor even when it is difficult?
6. Do my actions show that I value material things more than I value the well being of the poor?
7. Am I miserly with my time or am I always ready to listen to the struggles of another? Pray with him? Offer him counsel?
8. Am I concerned if my neighbor is growing in virtue or is my concern for him based on self-interest?
9. Am I willing to step out of my “comfort zone” and put myself at the service of others?
10. Do I strive to overcome prejudice, discrimination, and bias? To what extent?
Were you pleased with your answers? Why or why not? Praise God for all of the ways in which you have discovered your mercy vision is 20/20. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace you need to increase your capacity for supernatural vision in the ways in which it can improve.
Copyright 2009, by Johnnette S. Benkovic. All rights reserved.