886. What is the true meaning of the word charity as used by Jesus?
“Benevolence for everyone, indulgence towards the imperfections of others, and forgiveness of offenses.”
Love and charity complement the law of justice since loving your neighbor is to do to them all the good in our power, all that we would wish to have done to ourselves. This is the meaning behind Jesus’ words, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
According to Jesus, charity is not restricted to giving alms, but covers all our relations with our fellow human beings whether inferior, equal or superior. It preaches indulgence on our part because we need the same ourselves, and it forbids us from humiliating the unfortunate, as is too often done. How many of us lavish respect and attention on the rich, yet think that being civil to the poor is not worth the time or effort? Yet, the more deplorable the situation of the poor, the more painstakingly we should refrain from adding humiliation to their misfortune. Those who are truly kind, try to elevate others to their level by reducing the distance between them.