By Fr. Henry Charles Umelechi

There’s something that summarizes Christianity and that is “Caritas,” which is love or charity. When you look at the life of Jesus, you would see that each of his actions is governed by charity which is love of God and love of neighbor.

In various instances, Jesus demonstrated this:

The Parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–35).
The woman caught in adultery (John 7:53–8:11).
The story of Zaccheus (Luke 19:1–10)
The multiplication of loaves and fishes (Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-17 and Jn 6:1-15).
The rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
The rich man who sought perfection (Matt 19:16–30, Mark 10:17-13; Luke 18:18–30)
The raising of Lazarus(John 11: 1-44)
The greatest commandment (Matt 22:36–40)
And what have you?

In all these instances, one common denominator is the “acknowledgement of the concept of the ‘other'” which Jesus Christ called “the love of neighbor.”

The beloved disciple of Jesus, in breaking these teachings by the help of the Holy spirit said “Anyone who says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). Here you still see the persistency that “the love of God must show itself in the love of neighbor.”

Now, we who are christians, who meditate, read and pray with the Word of God should understand it better than others. However, it’s not so. Many of us pride in doing the opposite. We must ask whether we are praying to ourselves who are sometimes willfully deaf or to God who ever hears? If to God, then, shouldn’t it be easier? That means, the volume of our sounds doesn’t actually move God, but the quality of our hearts.

Infact, as you are countering and feeling angry by what have been said so far, then St. Paul would be the most foolish to have said “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13.1). Why not just say it: “shame to you St. Paul!”

Being a Christian is not only by preaching and teaching as may be the case here, but also and more importantly by witnessing (action). It is by witnessing that our forebears in faith were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). But how shall we hear without a preacher? (Rom 10:14)

Sometimes, when we want to remove charity in our prayers, by shouting without considering our neighbors, we say that the Holy Spirit is moving us. Is it the same Holy Spirit that made the apostles consider their neighbors in all things, the one promised us by Jesus?

But, don’t get it twisted!!!

When you are very alone, either as an individual or as a group without any neighbor to consider, may be in a desert, an empty field etc, shouting in your prayers is only a concern between you, your health and God. However when there is a neighbor, out of charity you ought to consider him or her. A neighbor could be anyone near you irrespective of religion, denomination, belief, etc.

Imagine it that someone mounts a blaring microphone near your window preaching and praying with ‘thunder fire method,’ while you yourself just came back from either market, or office,or virgil,or crusade, or church or preaching just to rest or to catch some sleep; how would you feel in all sincerity?

If after all our preaching and praying, we couldn’t adhere to one thing that summarizes our prayer, teaching and preaching,—charity, who are we?

Remember, as you always tell people that “God shall judge each of us according to our actions,” your lack of charity towards others while praying is an action too that shall be judged because “whoever loves God, must also love his brother” (1 John 4:21).

Fada Henry Charles Umelechi

Truth Series.


Related post: Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

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