THE NEED FOR CHARITY ACCORDING TO SAINT PAUL
6. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all the mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, lam nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long and is kind, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. And now abideth faith, hope, charity these three; but the greatest of these is charity (SAINT PAUL, I Corinthians, 13:1-7 & 13).
7. This is the way in which Saint Paul understood this great truth, which said: 'When I have learned the language of the Angels: "When I have the gift of prophecy, which I can penetrate all the mysteries; When I have all the faith that is possible, even to the point of transporting mountains, if l do not have charity, then lam nothing. Within the three virtues: faith, hope and charity, the most superior of these is charity." In this manner and without any possible doubt, Paul places charity above even faith. This is because charity is within the reach of everybody, from the ignorant to the wise person, from rich to poor people; it is also quite independent of any particular beliefs.
He does even more: he defines true charity by showing it as being not only beneficence, but also a collective of all the qualities of the heart, in terms of goodness and benevolence towards all of our fellow beings.