On Being Charitable

On Being Charitable
by Dennis McInerny

Charity, as St. Thomas Aquinas loves to remind us, is the most basic of all the virtues their “mother,” as he puts it. And charity “is the mover of all the other virtues,” the seminal cause of whatever level of genuine goodness we might manage to gain for ourselves in this vale of tears. As believers, we all know that charity should be the governing factor in our lives, guiding and shaping everything we do. Without charity, as St. Paul effectively tells us, we are, in spiritual terms, nonentities.

But while we would all acknowledge the centrality of charity, and readily agree to the imperative of always being charitable in our dealings with others, we are not always as clear as we could be as to the precise nature of charity…

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