Sunday, August 22, 2010

Concerning Zeal - Part Four


Our fourth part of our exploration of  Zeal awaits! So, let's get right to work, Academicians!(If you haven't read them yet, please use the following links to
 
Part One and Part Two  and Part Three)

"The Charity Of St. Elizabeth Of Hungary" by Leighton Edward Blair

Saint Paul adamantly states that zealous activities, to be truly zealous -- truly in Christ and not disguised forms of selfish ambition or jealousy -- must issue from a love that is free of selfishness and envy (Romans 12:3-21).
And, our beloved Saint Paul also strongly emphasized that Christian charity must take precedence over zeal (1 Corinthians 13:1-14:1; also cf. 1 John 3:2 and 2 Peter 1:4)

Christian zeal is founded upon Christian charity: 
  • Christian charity is the state of living in God's love and favor through and in Christ, and responding to God's love and favor with our wholehearted love.  
  • Our wholehearted response to God's love simultaneously impels us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  
  • Paul understood that charity — not zeal — is the bond of union among Christians (Romans 12:10; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:4; 3:14) and the supreme and lasting activity of Christian lived-faith (1 Corinthians 13).

The early Church Fathers deepened this understanding of the mutual dependency of Christian zeal and Christian charity. For the Fathers:

  • Zealous love of God and neighbor was the way of Christian life -- the only way a Christian should live; 
  • Zealous love of God and neighbor is to be directed toward maintaining the unity of the faithful.  A unity which is realized in the Eucharistic communion, and fostered through Christians' practical, selfless love for one another.
    Thus:
    • Christian zeal -- if it's real -- always directs and encourages our love to act in ourselves (for our own continual imitation of Christ's moral precepts and for our unending growth in thinking and feeling with Christ's attitudes);
    • Christian zeal -- if it's real -- always directs and encourages our love to act through us, outward toward others: in unmistakable kindness and charity, using specific deeds of justice for all human beings.
    A poster from a Salvation Army campaign for disaster relief.
    "Let us therefore give ourselves to God with a great desire to begin to live thus, and beg Him to destroy in us the life of the world of sin, and to establish His life within us."
    Saint John Eudes
    +
    This installment concludes our series on Zeal ... maybe... we'll see.
    "The Assistant Headmaster"

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    Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
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