Charity: The Greatest Virtue
One of the most recent topics we've been discussing together within the Masonic Fundraiser sites has been the topic of Charity. It being known to us as one of the Seven Cardinal Virtues which throughout centuries have been part of every Mason’s life, it is of particular interest to me to explore some of the ways in which I could employ it in a practical way throughout my life. If we were playing a word association game, the first word that comes to my mind when I hear Charity is the word Love. This comes from one of the Sacred texts that we as Masons hold dear and I personally spend a lot of time reading, as it is the rule and guide to both my Faith and Practice. I have heard these two words interchanged in a particular passage of Scripture found in the first letter to the people of Corinth (currently Archaia Korinthos) chapter 13. In the King James translation of the Christian Bible, this chapter concludes with the following words: “...And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” In this particular exposition the word “charity” from the Latin caritas, explains the love of God and love of man; which includes both the love toward all mankind as well as love of self. This is one of the first and clearest lessons I learned as a Mason from my Mentor while studying the tools of an Entered Apprentice, more specifically the 24 inch gauge. It was the vertical relationship we have with The Great Architect of the Universe and the horizontal relationship we have in turn with mankind. If charity
or love or kindness reflects the very nature of God, how then does that translate into how we treat our fellow man? Arguably one of the greatest teachers in history, Jesus claimed that only after loving our maker above all things, we should love others as we love ourselves (Matt 22:36-40). This at times can be a real challenge, but let me share with you some of the ways in which I have experienced this recently.
If charityI have had a debilitating back injury that has plagued me since my freshman year of college. After many treatments of every kind you can imagine I concluded that I would live in mild to moderate pain for the rest of my life. This is until almost a year ago when I met Brother Lopez of Winter Garden Lodge No. 165, who after seeing me sit through the minutes in discomfort week after week offered me his help. Brother Lopez, a local and Chiropractor and owner of a private practice, assured me that he could and would be happy to help me get better. After some reluctance on my part, most of it due to a bad experience with a chiropractor in the past, I finally took him up on his offer. Long story short, he didn’t take my medical insurance and I could not afford to pay the many treatments it would take to get me better. Needless to say, he found me worthy and well qualified and proceeded to provide me with the relief I needed to get well. Brother Lopez kindly continues to see me weekly to this day and has never asked for anything in return. To me, this Brother epitomizes the meaning of the word Charity. Not only was he kind by offering his services, he offered up his time and resources in order to help me for which I am very grateful. When was the last time you had an opportunity to go out of your comfort zone to help your fellow man, or most especially a Brother Mason? Have you been charitable with your time, your talents or your treasures lately?
or love or kindness reflects the very nature of God, how then does that translate into how we treat our fellow man?
-B:. Victor A. Rosario, 32°
Do you have any real life examples of Masonic Charity in your life?
-Please share your experience in the comment section below-