Giving or giving

Within the brotherhoods, charity is based on the doctrinal formation that the brotherhood must provide for each brother, which inevitably leads to giving and giving oneself to others.

February 1, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes
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Photo: Eren Li /Pexels

A friend of mine, an elder brother of a well-known brotherhood, told me about the difference he appreciated between the corporal works of mercy - feeding, lodging, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners,...- and the spiritual ones -instructing, counseling, consoling, comforting,...-. The difference consisted in the fact that the corporal ones were referred to the givewhile the spiritual ones involved occur.

Some nuances could be made to this affirmation, but in general lines it is well reasoned. This does not imply that one is above the other, both have the same value; but it is true that the corporal works of mercy could be exercised, even in a spurious way, without rectitude of intention, including interests unrelated to the work itself, such as obtaining a tax deduction, improving one's image or soothing one's conscience. The spiritual ones imply a greater commitment, in them the person is more involved. In any case, all of them involve looking at others, being centered on others, knowing and attending to their needs, either directly or through an entity such as the brotherhoods.

It is a matter of giving and giving oneself; but no one gives what he does not have. In order to give oneself, one must possess oneself, which implies accepting oneself as a being created by God in his image and likeness, which is the true nature of man. However, a culture based on the rejection of this acceptance of oneself as a created being, with a given nature, is spreading and taking root, and attempts to endow itself with a new nature elaborated from its own initiative. All these attempts adopt as their intellectual support the dictatorship of relativism, "which does not recognize anything as definitive and which leaves only the self and its desires as the ultimate measure" (Ratzinger); which denies the possibility of reaching a common truth on which to build human coexistence, and replaces it with that which each one establishes at each moment Since there is no truth about the person, this will be what each one deems appropriate. Its approaches will never attack the dignity of the person, because that dignity is also relative, imputable only to a concept of person.

 There are many manifestations of the determination of some to establish their own truth about man: gender theory (it is I who decides my gender, regardless of whether I was born male or female); the ability to decide on one's own life (euthanasia, suicide), or that of others (abortion); the deconstruction of the family (new forms of family groupings, education of children by the State); the right of each identity minority, natural or induced, to have their opinions, transformed into enforceable rights, admitted and protected in a way that excludes others (culture, culture, etc.); the right of each identity minority, natural or induced, to have their opinions, transformed into enforceable rights, admitted and protected in a way that excludes others (culture, etc.). woke and cancellation policy), and so on.

Overcoming these approaches, Charity is presented, which resides precisely in this emptying of oneself in order to let God take possession of each one of us.... it is no longer I who live, it is Christ who lives in me... (Galatians 2:20)-, giving fullness to the person, who is invited by God to make his or her biography a continuous act of love, a continuous charity, a permanent gaze on others from Christ.

Thus approached, the concept of Charity opens to the brotherhoods a field of action, and above all of reflection, much broader than that of social assistance, which goes from being an end in itself to the inevitable action of the person in the exercise of his being. Charity is based, then, on the doctrinal formation that the brotherhood must provide to each brother, which inevitably leads to giving and giving oneself to others.

The authorIgnacio Valduérteles

D. in Business Administration. Director of the Instituto de Investigación Aplicada a la Pyme. Eldest Brother (2017-2020) of the Brotherhood of the Soledad de San Lorenzo, in Seville. He has published several books, monographs and articles on brotherhoods.

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