The strength that charity gives

Frater qui adiuvatur a fratre quasi civitas firma6. A brother helped by his brother is strong as a walled city, we read in the Book of Proverbs. In those early days, when those who embraced the faith encountered so many external difficulties, fraternity was the best defense against all enemies. Truly, charity well lived makes us strong and secure like a walled city, like a fortress impregnable to all attacks. The recommendations to live with extreme delicacy the command of the Lord are very abundant: Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ, exhorts St. Paul to the Galatians. Our disposition towards others when we see them burdened, with an overload of work, of difficulties, must always be that of helping them to bear those burdens, often so heavy. Take upon yourself," St. Ignatius of Antioch advised his disciple St. Polycarp, "as a perfect athlete of Christ, the infirmities of all".

This is the responsibility of all Christians. Each one must always be attentive to the good of others, and especially to those whom, for various reasons, the Lord has entrusted to us. "These are your servants, my brethren," writes St. Augustine, "whom you willed to be your children, my lords, and whom you commanded me to serve if I would live with you from you. Concern for helping others will take us out of ourselves and enlarge our hearts. Neither the lack of time, nor the excess of occupations, nor the fear of complicating our life, will be able to justify the omissions in this virtue. It will often consist in caring for their health, for their rest, for their joy, and above all for their faith. The sick deserve special attention: companionship, true interest in their healing, helping them to offer their pain to the Lord and to sanctify their illness, helping them to pray according to their possibilities....

Charity well lived gives us great strength in the face of obstacles sometimes similar to those encountered by the first Christians. We must reach God well united in faith, guarding one another, without letting anyone feel the harshness of loneliness in more difficult moments, through which we can all pass, "for if a city defends itself, and girds itself with strong walls, and protects itself on all sides with a watchful eye, but a single hole is left undefended through negligence, the enemy will certainly enter through it". Let us not let him enter.

With the help of others we will be a walled city, a stronghold, and we will go where we cannot go alone, we will resist more and better the difficulties that arise on the road to God, for - as the Scripture says - the rope of three strands is hard to break. Charity is our strength. "Frater qui adjuvatur a fratre quasi civitas firma" -The brother helped by his brother is as strong as a walled city,

"Think for a while and make up your mind to live the fraternity that I always recommend to you".