Know only one thing...
an introduction to Caritas, the Virtual House of Prayer

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John the Apostle, whose hands had touched the hands of Christ, whose feet had walked beside Jesus, who had perceived the mystery revealed in his time said that, in the end, he knew only one thing--one thing that is all things, and all wisdom, and all beauty. One sentence distills the wisdom of a lifetime: love one another.

In centuries since his lifetime others, too, have perceived this truth. In fact, they are everywhere, in high places and in lonely corners of the earth. They have come to own something of the power of love with its innate capacity to shift the balance between good and evil. They understand it as a potent force, a passion of being, moving in minds and hearts and hands...the mystery of God, God's love enfleshed in time, in all time, in our time. Charity, the gift of love.

This is an energy of God's Spirit , nurturing the gift within us. It is every Christian's passion. Poets and mystics have named it, prophets have raised their voices in its name, Daughters of Charity in the hovels of the poor have learned it well. People in all ages have sought out ways of sharing the fire. It is the primary Spirit-taught drive to bring God's reign to be in time.


Charity is earthy; it gets its hands into the mess of life. It is most at home among the lowly of heart; it finds among them a clear evidence of genuine love; dauntless in facing obstacles, profound in simplicity of being. Charity learns its truths here.


Charity is humble. It has learned to be free. It is comfortable in understanding its human frailty and with inability to achieve on its own. It grows in each one's lifetime of struggle, of resistance to a firm trust in God and a belief that love is possible, that the building of that reign is tedious, sometimes frightening, but always possible, even urgent.


Charity is communal. It has an urge to communicate with others, to gather together, to shape new courses, new ways of expression for each age. It is creative, needing to form patterns of caring that meet the particular hungers of a culture. It has a Trinitarian aspect of communicating, growing, changing, a relentless involvement in stretching love beyond itself. (Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.)

It is the expression in Eucharist - in the breaking and sharing of bread and life. Charity is essentially a joy-filled spirit.

for reflection

In what way is God tracing the gift of Charity in your life?

•How do you experience the gift operating in your daily life? (Charism)

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Sisters of Charity

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