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Pope Francis waves during his General Audience yesterday at St Peter’s Square, Vatican City (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis turned his thoughts to the theological virtue of charity yesterday as he continued his series of catechesis on the vices and the virtues. Source: Vatican News.

He began his reflection with the passage of St Paul: “So faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The Pope noted that these words were addressed to the Christians of Corinth, who suffered from division and strife – even in the Eucharistic celebration.

“Who knows, but perhaps in the community of Corinth, no one thought they had committed a sin,” the Pope said. If that was the case, they might have found Paul’s condemnation of their strife “incomprehensible”.

Although they might have imagined they were good and loving people, St Paul challenged them on true charity, which comes from God. “Paul is concerned that in Corinth – as among us, too, today – there is confusion and that there is actually no trace of the theological virtue, the one that comes to us only from God,” Pope Francis said.

Like every human person, the Pope explained, Christians are capable of “all the forms of love in the world”: romantic love, love of friends, country, humanity.

“But there is a greater love,” Pope Francis said, “which comes from God and is directed towards God and enables us to love God … and to love our neighbour as God does.”

This is the virtue of charity, which enables us not only to love our friends and family, but to love even those people who are difficult to love. 

He concluded with the warning that, in our final moments, “we will not be judged on generic love, but precisely on charity”, and quoted the words of Jesus: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”


Pope at Audience: Charity is the work of the Holy Spirit in us (By Christopher Wells, Vatican News)