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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Charity the Virtue - Out of the Heart into the Hand

“Charity is a virtue of the heart, and not of the hands.”

~Joseph Addison.

All the giving of the world comes to nought if it’s not from the heart that wishes to give. It’s the heart which owns abundance, not the hand.

As charity—or otherwise, love—begins at home, so it does commence from our innermost being. Charity cannot authentically come from extrinsic bases.

And though it happens it’s never something that truly occurs extrinsically. It can never be the hand that designs the acts of love, although the hand in faith expresses the desire to love and does complete the feat. Hands, then, are just as important—they just come in further on down the track; more rightly as an output of heartfelt action.


There are all sorts of well-meaning turns of phrase around the humble coffee being our faithful “heart-starter” of a morning—that little shoot of caffeine bringing us more consciously awake.

Charity, however, is the real heart-starter, for our hearts will not be further engaged—and indeed fuelled for the day ahead—without thought of charity. It is, therefore, a key ingredient in our living joyfully and spritely.

Let our hearts always inform our hands. May the hands faithfully serve the heart... for the hand that does not serve has a compunctious heart to blame for that, hiding deep and behind it all.

The Source of All Motivation

The heart is central to the flow of our being. It begins and ends there; the heart even informing the mind how it’s to think (despite better conscience).

But we just as easily address our estranged hearts by investing much good and virtuous thought and prayer—the power of the mind—to redress heart deficiencies... and we all have them.

Our objective, then, is to identify where we lack motive for God’s best for us—as mostly it pertains to others also—and to work on improving those matters at no better a level than at the core—our hearts.

This is very much about always asking very honestly, “Why?” Why do we do bad things or things that feel bad? And how well or acutely are our consciences piqued?

The heart must always be the target of our keenest growth.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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