Virtues attached to charity

St. Paul did not go so far as to ask Philemon directly for Onesimus' freedom, but he insinuates to him with great finesse that he grant it to him, without detracting from his free decision. He makes him note the generosity he had with him, so that he may have the same heart for his slave, now his brother in the faith. He ends by saying to him: I know that you will do even more than what I tell you. "It is the repetition of the same testimony that he had expressed to him at the beginning of his letter," comments St. John Chrysostom, "Knowing that you will do even more than what I tell you. It is impossible to imagine anything more persuasive; no other reason more convincing than this tender esteem of the generosity that Paul manifests to him, so that Philemon could no longer resist this demand "14. It is the delicacy of the one who knows how to ask, supported by an intimate friendship that has faith in Christ as its ultimate foundation.

Charity carries with it a series of virtues that are both its support and its defense. These virtues, through which charity itself is manifested, are loyalty, gratitude, mutual respect, friendship, deference, affability, gentleness in dealing with others.... To live the Lord's Commandment well will often require us to control our moods, to foster cordiality, good humor, serenity and optimism. On the contrary, unkind and intemperate tones, lack of politeness, impatience, excessive attention to the deficiencies of others, negative judgments about others, carelessness in language... usually reveal an absence of interior refinement, of supernatural life, of union with God.

St. John has left us this summary of what our life should be: By this we have come to know love, that he gave his life for us, and we should give ours for our brothers and sisters. This giving our lives for others must be day by day, in the midst of our work, at home, with our friends, with the people with whom we have relationships. In this way we fulfill the Lord's commandment: that you love one another; as I have loved you, so also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. By this commandment, "Jesus has distinguished the Christians of all ages from other men who have not yet entered his Church. If we Christians do not manifest this characteristic, we will end up by confusing the world, losing the honor of being considered children of God.

"In such a case - as fools - we do not take advantage of perhaps the strongest weapon to bear witness to God in our environment, frozen by paganizing, indifferent and superstitious atheism.

"May the world be astonished to contemplate a spectacle of fraternal concord and say of us - as of those who gloriously preceded us -: See how they love each other!".