Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
Ne nos mente dividamur caveamus.
Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.
"Where charity and love are, there God is.
Therefore, whensoever we are gathered as one:
Lest we in mind be divided, let us beware.
Let cease malicious quarrels, let strife give way.
And in the midst of us be Christ our God."
I was going to write a lengthy post about this beautiful verse from the Latin hymn. I was going to talk about how central charity is to our faith; how St. Paul called it the best of the three things that endure, how true it is that without charity any good we try to do would be in vain.
I was going to talk about how important it is to remember that, how we must seek charity at every turn, how we ought to be careful to be charitable even when we find ourselves in a position where we must offer correction, how we can tell when we actually should offer this correction, and when we might be tempted to think that we should 'meddle' for all the wrong reasons. (At this point I was going to talk about such a duty always being a painful one for the charitable soul; any time we find ourselves enjoying, in a malicious way, the "obligation" to tell someone that we think they should correct something they're doing, we'd better examine the necessity of doing so in the first place.)
I was going to say a word or two about how the duty to get along with each other doesn't mean that we have to be namby-pamby-nicey-wiceys, but that true charity permits strong, even vigorous dissension with each other on all the non-essentials. But we should be united in the essentials, and vigorous dissension doesn't give us the license to judge, look down on, despise, or hold contempt for each other.
I was going to say all of that, with lots of examples and, if I were lucky, a clever turn of phrase (or maybe even two).
But I'm not.
Because tonight my husband put together four new bookshelves for me, a task he doesn't much like and would probably never do on his own, a task that causes him stress and bother, a task that probably rates near the bottom of his list of things he wants to spend an evening doing.
And because he got started rather late, he just finished a few minutes ago. It's 1:30 a.m. as I write this, and he has to get up for work in the morning.
And he did it because he loves me. That's charity for you, charity in action, which speaks so much louder and stronger and clearer than all my silly words.