Dear Father Angelo Bellon,
I am a 45-year-old woman who has only recently come back to the Faith after years of what I have called “religious hibernation”. During that period, I did not disparage the Faith but I was simply indifferent to it…
Then, as a lightning bolt, in a period of great anxiety and torment, I found myself on my knees in the darkness of my room sobbing breathlessly, imploring the help of our Lord and the Blessed John Paul II…
Since then, I felt a very strong need to rediscover the values of the Faith, the Sacraments and, little by little, a bit “lost” in my considerable ignorance of and little “familiarity” with religious matters, I resumed attending the Holy Mass regularly, praying more or less regularly, going to Confession, and receiving the Eucharist. By myself, I am trying to read in order to understand and relearn the Word of God, even by searching on the internet everything that can “feed” my “hunger for prayer and Faith”.
Yesterday during the homily, the Priest said that “Faith without works of charity is a dead Faith…” My questions are: am I right to search on the internet and read everything that can help me to rebuild a path of Faith? Do you have anything else to recommend?
The second question: in a frenetic and consumeristic world, what works of charity could actually be performed?
Thank you for your kind attention and best regards.
Answer from the priest
1. The expression “faith without works is “dead”” belongs to St. James (Jm. 2,26).
St. Paul writes about “faith working through love” (Gal 5,6).
2. Charity brings the presence of God into the soul.
For this reason, charity is the foundation of spiritual life, a life of grace.
St. John is very clear on this point.
He says: “God is love (charity), and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 Jn 4,16).
Here the apostle refers to what he himself had heard from the Jesus during the last supper: “Whoever loves me will keep my world, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn 14,23).
Furthermore: “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me” (Jn 14,21).
3. Mortal sin consists in turning away from God’s will, in not keeping the commandments.
For this reason, a grave transgression of a commandment of the Lord makes one lose charity, the state of grace.
4. The word “charity” does not necessarily mean monetary donations (Although those are certainly included in the definition).
“Charity”, in Greek “agàpe”, means precisely to love with the heart of God.
The holy Authors, when referring to this form of loving, did not use the common term “love”, but “agàpe”, which precisely means to love with the heart of God.
St. Paul says: “the love of God (in Greek: agàpe, in Latin: charity) has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rm 5,5).
5. Saint Paul, in chapter 13 of the first letter to the Corinthians, teaches how to really love with the heart of God.
Here are his words: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13,4-7).
6. Therefore, when charity is practiced, i.e., when one loves with the heart of God, is when one is patient, does not seek one’s own interest, does not brag, does not get inflated with pride, does not get angry, forgives other people’s evil,…
We sin against charity when we become impatient, when we get angry, when we are not generous, when we refuse to patiently endure, when we gossip…
7. As you can see, it is not necessary to leave your house in order to practice charity. As a matter of fact, we must use charity first of all with those in our house and with the brothers of the Christian community to which we belong.
8. Using the internet to grow in faith is appropriate. However, it is necessary to check the websites’ reliability.
As soon as they deviate a little from the teachings of the Church, you must ignore them. They will just get you off track.
9. I am glad that God broke into your life in such an extraordinary way.
I’m sure you’ll feel like you’ve risen again and see everything in a new way.
As St. Thomas says, believing is the same thing as seeing with God’s eyes!
And this singular grace happened to you.
I assure you a prayer to the Lord so that you may keep it and grow it more and more.
I greet you and bless you.