Charity is not a weight 2

A true Christian (and by ‘true Christian’ I mean the opposite of a worldly Christian, true Christians are in the world […] they do not belong to the world (Jn. 17:11.16); If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, […] the world hates you (Jn. 15:19)) feels a kind of satisfaction when Christian duties are fulfilled; but, like the rich young man, his spirit is not calm. Why? Because a true Christian has greater aspirations than accomplishing his duties as a Christian.

The Church has been able to survive in the midst of this world not because its ministers and faithful members did not sin – since the beginning the Church has had members who scandalized others.  Just think of the Apostles, were they faithful to Christ or did they betray Him? Or think of the heretics: since the beginning the Church has fought against the heresies of its members, many of them even being priests or bishops.  So, the Church has been able to survive because of so many of its members who understood that fidelity is built on love instead of duty; that the 10 Commandments should be lived out of love and not out of duty; and that the Beatitudes are an unbearable burden if we try to live them only because of obligation.

If we wipe out the burden of love that Jesus added to the commandments –all the You have heard that it was said to your ancestors […] but I say to you (Mt. 5:21-22) -in order to surpass the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, who represent the accomplishment of the law out of duty, again if the Church wipes out that burden, then the Church would immediately die.

The blood of the martyrs, the apostolic zeal of the missionaries, the self-surrender of the virgins, the strength of the holy women, the silence of the hermit, the perseverance of the holy men, etc.; each saint has something unique, each saint has a heroic unique characteristic, but all those unique characteristics are based on the same thing: the excess of love that Jesus added to the law. This excess of love gave, gives and will always give life to the Church.

I would like to recall words of Archbishop Dominic Tang. This Archbishop was arrested on February 5, 1958. The Chinese government charged him as “the most faithful running-dog of the reactionary Vatican.” He stayed in jail for 22 years in inhumane conditions –according to the description he wrote in his beautiful book How Inscrutable His Ways! “During the twenty-two years I was imprisoned, I never received a letter from anyone in my family or from among my friends. Nor did I receive a single visitor, nor did the prison authorities allow me to write. […] I did not receive a piece of toilet paper or a bar of soap. I slept on a wooden bench, with a blanket I brought with me to the prison. […] I did not know anything about the situation of the Church beyond the prison or about the condition of my relatives. During twenty-two years my life was monotonous, there were no changes in any sense […] I was always alone without being able to talk to anyone, not even a word. Someone could say that my life was totally deprived of joy, yet I lived intimately united to God, who fulfilled my soul with his infinite Love.”

What was his secret? He said: “When, in prison, everything became exhausting and difficult to bear, I thought of the sufferings that Jesus experienced, and then I was able to bear the weight of my situation.” Since he knew that “This was God’s love for me.”

Daily homily


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