Charity (virtue)

Charity (virtue)

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In Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 charity, or love (agapē
Agape
Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

), means an unlimited loving-kindness
Loving-kindness
Loving-kindness is a term coined by Myles Coverdale for his Coverdale Bible of 1535, as an English translation of the Hebrew word chesed ; in that text it is spelled "louinge kyndnesse". It is also used in this sense in the American Standard Version and various other versions of the Bible...

 toward all others.

The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity
Charity (practice)
The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver.- Etymology :The word "charity" entered the English language through the Old French word "charité" which was derived from the Latin "caritas".Originally in Latin the word caritas meant...

 to mean benevolent giving.

Caritas: altruistic love


In Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 charity, or love (agapē
Agape
Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

), is the greatest of the three theological virtues:
Deus caritas est - "God is love".


Love, in this sense of an unlimited loving-kindness towards all others, as is referred to as Universal Love, is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. In its most extreme form such love can be self-sacrificial. To include it under the same category as the virtue of Charity may be misguided as it stands alone as the greatest virtue of all. Confusion can arise from the multiple meanings of the English word "love." The love that is caritas is distinguished by its origin, being Divinely infused into the soul, and by its residing in the will rather than emotions, regardless of what emotions it stirs up. This love is necessary for salvation, and with it no one can be lost.


Charity has two parts: love of God and love of man, which includes both love of one's neighbor and one's self.

Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 describes it in the First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13
1 Corinthians 13
Chapter 13 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, written by Paul the apostle covers the subject of love, principally the love that Christians should have for everyone. In the original Greek, the word αγαπη agape is used throughout...

 (KJV):
Note that the King James Version uses both the words charity and love to translate the idea of caritas / ἀγάπη: sometimes it uses one, then sometimes the other, for the same concept. Most other English translations, both before and since, do not; instead throughout they use the same more direct English word love, so that the unity of the teaching should not be in doubt. Love can have other meanings in English, but as used in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 it almost always refers to the virtue of caritas.

Many times when charity is mentioned in English-language bibles, it refers to "love of God."
One example is "charity covereth a multitude of sins" (Peter 4:8), which forms the basis of perfect contrition
Perfect contrition
Perfect contrition in Catholic theology is a repentance for sins which is motivated by the love of God...

.

See also

  • Loving-kindness
    Loving-kindness
    Loving-kindness is a term coined by Myles Coverdale for his Coverdale Bible of 1535, as an English translation of the Hebrew word chesed ; in that text it is spelled "louinge kyndnesse". It is also used in this sense in the American Standard Version and various other versions of the Bible...

  • Chesed
    Chesed
    The Hebrew noun khesed or chesed is the Hebrew word for "kindness." It is also commonly translated as "loving-kindness," or "love." Love is a central Jewish value, and leads to many particular commandments. Chesed is central to Jewish ethics and Jewish theology...

     Hebrew word, given the association of kindness
    Kindness
    Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behaviour, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions ....

     and love
    Love
    Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

  • Agape
    Agape
    Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

     Greek word, given the association of "loving-kindness" or "love"
  • Mettā
    Metta
    Mettā or maitrī is loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, love, sympathy, close mental union , and active interest in others. It is one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism, and the first of the four sublime states...

     Sanskrit word, given the association of "loving-kindness" and "friendliness"
  • Deus caritas est
    Deus Caritas Est
    Deus Caritas Est is a 2006 encyclical—the first written by Pope Benedict XVI, in large part derived from writings by his late predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Its subject is love, as seen through a Christian perspective, and God's place within all love...

     2005 Papal Encyclical
  • Love for enemies
    Expounding of the Law
    The Expounding of the Law is a highly structured part of the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament...

  • Compassion
    Compassion
    Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.There is an aspect of...

  • Baksheesh
    Baksheesh
    Baksheesh is a term used to describe tipping, charitable giving, and certain forms of political corruption and bribery in the Middle East and South Asia...

  • Seven Heavenly Virtues
    Chastity
    Chastity
    Chastity refers to the sexual behavior of a man or woman acceptable to the moral standards and guidelines of a culture, civilization, or religion....

    Temperance
    Temperance (virtue)
    Temperance has been studied by religious thinkers, philosophers, and more recently, psychologists, particularly in the positive psychology movement. It is considered a virtue, a core value that can be seen consistently across time and cultures...

    Charity
    Diligence
    Diligence
    Diligence is steadfast application, assiduousness and industry — the virtue of hard work rather than the sin of careless sloth.Diligent behaviour is indicative of a work ethic — a belief that work is good in itself....

    Patience
    Patience
    Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the...

    Kindness
    Kindness
    Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behaviour, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions ....

    Humility
    Humility
    Humility is the quality of being modest, and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of transcendent unity with the universe or the divine, and of egolessness.-Term:The term "humility"...

  • Seven Deadly Sins
    Seven deadly sins
    The 7 Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of objectionable vices that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen humanity's tendency to sin...

     (opposite of the seven virtues)
  • Urania
    Urania
    Urania was, in Greek mythology, the muse of astronomy. Some accounts list her as the mother of the musician Linus. She is usually depicted with a globe in her left hand. She is able to foretell the future by the arrangement of the stars...

  • Maria Magdalena
    María Magdalena
    María Magdalena is a 1954 Argentine film....

  • God of Love
    God of Love
    God of Love is the sixth full-length studio album by hardcore punk pioneers Bad Brains. It is the first Bad Brains album since 1989 to feature the band's original lineup...

  • Great Commandment
    Great Commandment
    The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...


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