Friday, 07 July 2017 21:00

Charity vs. Envy


The battle begins… starts right now. Who will win? Charity or envy?

This is another outline written by Sr. Clare in 2008, with which she later led a formation meeting during a summer camp for girls that year. This time, she considers the virtue of charity, comparing it to its contrary vice: envy. As we pointed out when we published the first outline, it’s important to remember that Sr. Clare never thought that she would see her notes published. It was an aid for her use to help the girls reflect… This was how she spoke to children and teens: using real-life examples, putting herself in their shoes, in their mentality, and encouraging them to start growing now both humanly and spiritually. I hope that all of us make the most of reading this reflection on charity, a virtue which Sr. Clare was very much known for, and which we also ought to learn from.

Charity is a supernatural virtue by which a person loves God above all things for his own sake, and loves others for God's sake. Envy totally destroys charity. What is envy? It is sadness or discontent at the excellence, good fortune, or success of another person. In other words, when you're feeling really down and out because someone else did something well and you didn’t. Does it ring a bell..?

How can I practice the virtue of charity at the H.M. Summer camp?

There is a girl that you really don’t get along with in your group or in the camp. At meal time, if you have to sit beside her, you totally ignore her and start a conversation with your buddies, the people that you like to be with. As you’re sitting at the table you are reminded that the virtue for today is charity and you make an effort to talk to that person that you don’t really get along with. You can ask her if she likes Sloppy Joes, if she has a pet goldfish, or maybe you can arm wrestle.

During prayer time you get really distracted and a little bored. Instead of trying to think about Jesus or talk to Him, you spend the 15 minutes that you’re in the chapel looking at a little fly that got into the chapel. There you are watching him as he flies from one girls' t-shirt to another. Before you know it, prayer time is over and you haven’t said anything to God who was there looking at you waiting for you to talk to Him. If charity is the virtue by which a person loves God above all things, then you have to show Him that you love Him by making an extra special effort during prayer time to really talk to Him. If you see that other girls are really praying in the chapel, don’t feel envious of them. Ask God to give you that grace also.

At the end of the day when the Sisters give each team their positive points and their negative points, you see that some of the other groups have more points than your team does. When it’s time to give them a round of applause you and the rest of your team look at each other with long faces and you all stand there with your arms folded.  Why are you so sad? Have we maybe fallen into the vice of envy where we see that other teams are doing a little bit better than my team and I don’t like it one little bit? Charity is not envious, but rather rejoices in the good of others.

Listen to what Saint Paul tells us about Charity (love): “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

The battle begins… starts right now. Who will win? Charity or envy?............


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