The Practice of Charity: The Heart of Catholic Doctrine

I’d like to share with you a very inspiring statement I read from a blog post today at the Catholic Herald titled, “Yours Is A Noble Ideal and The Church Is Enriched By Your Presence.” That statement was, “The practice of charity springs from the love of God; it is nurtured and strengthened by the love of God, and it expresses the love of God in our world today.”

Charity is at the heart of the Catholic doctrine, and in the same way that it was the very core of Christ’s ministry while he was still on earth. There is no purer form of expression of love and gratefulness to God than works of charity. It is by helping the oppressed, comforting those who are despondent, and uplifting the condition of mankind that we are truly spreading the love of God to all the world.

The Apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of charity in the work of Christ in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Though I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have charity, 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 do not have charity, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have charity, I gain nothing.

There is no better way to serve and worship God than through the practice of charity.

11,000 Pledges to End Poverty

Parliament has received over eleven thousand personal pledges from Christians to do their part in ending world poverty.  Working parallel to the Millennium Development Goals for 2015, these pledges signify the active effort to half extreme poverty around the world.

According to Christian Today, MP Andrew George, who received the pledges said that the promises had given him a “clearer picture of the work that needs to be done if the Government is to meet the Millennium Development Goals in the next four years.”

“The Christian maxim that ‘charity begins at home’ means what it says. Charity begins at home, it doesn’t end there.”

“I’d like the steak…and I’d like to decide the price as well.”

Dining out has never been a quite like this.  I’ve been to restaurants where I’ve overpaid, as well as to places so reasonably-priced I feel as if I’m practically stealing.  But never, ever have I been to an eatery that allows me to decide the price.  No, seriously, read it again.  You decide the price.

The newest innovation in the restaurant business is to provide food on a pay-what-you-can basis.  The entire menu is amenable–the customers’ ideals is what keeps these restaurants in business, not the steep entree prices. Pay what you can, or what you think the food deserves, or just simply what you feel like! It’s totally up to your own discretion.

There are only about a dozen pay-as-you-can restaurants currently in the US, but those in operation find that the generosity of some of their more affluent customers allows the restaurant to provide meals to those in more dire situations.  And with that brings an incredibly varied customer base, which broadens the perspective of nearly everyone involved.

Now you might be asking yourself, besides pure goodwill, what is the benefit of donating more money for a meal when you could literally eat for free? Well, the article that brought pay-as-you-go restaurants to mycatholicblog.com‘s attention explains it as such:

Classic economics presumes a measure of “homo economicus” — the idea that people make economic decisions out of pure self-interest — but restaurants such as these complicate matters.

Pay-what-you-can restaurants survive through “a mixture of shame and altruism,” said Philip Graves, an economics professor at the University of Colorado. “I think people do care for other people, and they would be shamed if they didn’t pay a fair amount.”

So, if mycatholicblog correctly understands the concept of pay-as-you-go restaurants: those in need are provided with sustenance, those who have are provided with an easy opportunity to give, and everyone gets a tasty meal out of the deal.    Hmmm…makes sense to us!

Bon Appetit!

Giving back–with a moustache

Well, November is well underway, and though most people tend to associate this month with giving thanks, it is also a perfect time to give back.

There are countless charities and fundraising opportunities: soup kitchens, canned food drives, Thanksgiving Day football funds…you name it, it’s out there.

But by far, the most amusing fundraising organization is the Movember Foundation.  Movember raises awareness for cancers that affect men (for example, prostate cancer) by asking its participants to grow a moustache.  The participants then ask for donations from friends, family–whoever– with the promise for as long as ‘x’ amount of money is reached, they will not shave their moustache for ‘x’ amount of time.  In time what occurs is a sharp rise of ‘handlebar’ moustaches, ‘Dali’ moustaches, ‘Fu Manchu’s’…in essence, hilarious (and often misfitted) facial hair on your loved ones.

And all in the name of a great cause.

Giving back and helping others always puts a smile on your face.  Now you’ll get a little laugh as well.

College Student Raising Money Through Exercise

This article from Catholic News Agency was so inspiring to read about. Sylvan Pinto is a hero that should be getting recognition for the great things he is doing for people in need. This young man is biking and running some ridiculous distances, which in itself is impressive. He is doing them to raise money for very admirable causes too though and that is what makes his story so special. I hope that sharing this with you brings you as much happiness and it did to me. Just hearing about this made my day better.

“Sylvan Pinto IV biked 301 miles from West Newton, Pa., to Washington, D.C., biked 15 miles on another trip and ran 37 miles to help Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg defray medical costs for people in need.

A parishioner of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Greenburg, Pa., Pinto contacted Catholic Charities when he was 16 and a sophomore at Hempfield Area High School.

An avid runner, Pinto, now 20, wanted to “put a reason behind running” and help others. He got the idea after reading the book, “Ultramarathon Man,” about a man who helped save people’s lives by running. The runner logged 200 miles to help pay for a liver transplant for one person and a heart transplant for another.

“It made me think I could do something to help people. I figured I could do it on my own, but it wouldn’t be as special if I didn’t help someone,” said Pinto, an elementary education major who will be a junior this fall at Robert Morris University, Moon Township.

Pinto is on RMU’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams.

Pinto’s first run was 22 miles for families in Greensburg and Johnstown. The Greensburg family’s youngest son, 17 months old at the time and deaf, needed cochlear implants. Pinto raised $2,500, all of which went to defray medical costs.

He also raised the same amount for the Johnstown family, whose 8-year-old child was born with childhood arthritis, and for a girl in Indiana who needed reconstructive facial surgery after being in a vehicle accident when she was 5 years old.

When he biked to Washington this past May 22-26, he raised $2,500 for a 13-year-old and his father from Indian Head. In 2009, the 13-year-old was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that attacks the muscle and bone connection tissue. Later that year, his father was diagnosed with diffuse large b-cell lymphoma, an aggressive and fast-growing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.” – “Pennsylvania College Student Runs and Bikes to Help Those in Need”, Catholic News Agency