The charity refers to attitudes in solidarity with the suffering of others, such as alms or aid given to the disadvantaged without expecting any kind of retribution.
Charity is an important concept for the Christian religion, since it forms together with hope and faith the trio of theological virtues, that is, the habits instilled and cherished by God in the spirit of human beings, and that direct them towards salvation itself.
According to the traditional catholic preceptsCharity consists in loving God above all things for himself, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. This practice of the common good, in the same way, would arouse reciprocity and benevolence, it is always generous and disinterested.
Differences between charity and solidarity
While it is possible to use these two terms as synonyms, there is a fundamental difference between them consisting of the degree of selflessness and sacrifice that charity (at least in Catholic terms) implies.
Charity is exercised without distinction of any kind, it is absolute and detached and universal, since it is based on love for God and this is found in everyone and everywhere.
The solidarityOn the other hand, it is a similar but more secular term, which implies receptivity for similarities who suffer: that is, a feeling of fellowship and compassion based, in principle, on common goals or relationships of similarity.
Examples of charity
- Almsgiving. Sharing the money you have with someone more in need, without looking at who it is, is considered the charitable act par excellence in modern capitalist society. It should be understood differently, however, from philanthropy, which is solidarity with initiatives considered morally valuable or worthy of monetary aid.
- Give food to the hungry. Another supreme gesture of charity, which consists of feeding others without expecting any payment or retribution, simply for doing the good of appeasing hunger on earth. It is carried out by numerous local and international charities, including different churches and NGOs.
- Give away clothes. Traditionally, old or disused clothing is given as a gift and this is understood as a gesture of compassion for the dispossessed; However, true Christian charity would lie in giving the clothes in use and in conditions to those who have nothing.
- Help the stranger. Compassion and empathy in situations of risk or fragility experienced by a stranger would have to be produced in a charitable soul, which would be willing to provide help to those who have no connection with it and without expecting any form of present or future retribution in return. . This includes, for example, speaking out when defending the rights of others, minorities and those who cannot do so on their own voice..
- Help selflessly. Whether it is the classic example of helping an old lady cross the street or giving a seat to a pregnant woman, charity means giving a kind hand to those in need and putting their well-being before our own. In everyday life there can be many practical examples of charitable behavior towards children, the elderly or disabled people.
- Serve others. Christian charity implies renouncing selfishness and embracing the joy of giving, so providing selfless service to others is a good example of this. For example, helping someone to move a heavy object, to find a lost family member or to pick up what has been dropped, even if in the latter case we could extract an individual and selfish benefit by owning it.
- Forgive. On many occasions, forgiveness can become an act of charity, especially in situations in which our aggressors need to make peace with the damage they caused us. To forgive those who offend us is a Christian command contained in not a few of his prayers (such as the Pater noster), and is valued as a way of letting go of grudges and grudges, a way of loving even those who offend us.
- Contemplate others. Acting responsibly even with those whom we do not know or will not know, is also a form of charity. For example, when we pick up the remains of the table we ate at in a fast food restaurant, we are thinking of the next one to use it, although we do not know who it is or will ever thank us.
- Visit the sick. One of the works of mercy Catholic, consists of visiting the injured or sick and providing emotional, material or other support, even if it is a person outside our family or close environment.
- Bury the dead. This rite, common to many cultural aspects around the world, is understood mostly as an act of respect and charity for the deceased, to allow their proper rest away from the elements and the elements. Letting someone’s corpse rot or feeding their body to animals, in fact, it used to be an act of humiliation post mortem in ancient times, as his spirit was unable to rest in peace afterwards.
- Comfort the sad. Providing comfort and empathy to those who have lost something or someone very precious, even if they are strangers or, even more so, rivals or disaffected people, is an important gesture of charity, which unites us all through mourning and loss, as well as death that awaits us all at the end of our life journey.
- Free the captive. Another of the works of mercy proposed by Catholicism, it seems to be far from the realm of the laws of men (jurisprudence), but its origin dates back to the times of slavery. Today, however, it refers in any case to compassion for those who have made mistakes and expiates them in prison and avoiding cruelty against those who have made mistakes.
- Educate the uneducated. Passing on knowledge instead of monopolizing it, especially in cases where no form of compensation is received in return, is also an act of charity, since it gives someone disadvantaged by the system the opportunity to learn trades, knowledge or ways of thinking that later work in your favor and improve your quality of life.
- Give good advice. A variant of helping others and especially strangers, consists in always giving the best possible advice to those who require it, without paying attention to anything except their immediate and future benefit. Good advice does not consider the needs of the person who gives it, but of the person who receives it only.
- Teach the word. For Catholics and many of the Christian sects, one of the highest forms of charity is to transmit their religion to those who do not profess it, since in this way they would be offering them, according to their beliefs, the ultimate form of salvation for their spirit and bringing them one step closer to God.