15 Minutes: charity

There have been two things I have been trying to remember again and again the past week, and they have to do with how I treat others. I was speaking to a priest the other day, and he gave me a nugget of gold to treasure forever.  He told me, when he is struggling with someone, he reminds himself that "Christ shed His blood for that person just as He shed His blood for me."   The other day, one of my dear friends posted a sweet photo of her baby, with a caption that (paraphrased) said that "we were all someone's baby once." Both these reminders forced me to reevaluate how I view others.  Sometimes, a judgment is harshly made with no idea or care as to learning more to the story.  Sometimes it is easier to accuse instead of practice charity, especially charity in our own personal thoughts.  Maybe this family who is struggling financially is only on this beautiful vacation because it was given to them, or they scraped up enough money for months and months to make it work.   Maybe that skinny baby is really healthy, and the comment about the mother's "lack of feeding" the child is completely unfounded, or maybe the mother has enough supply (either via breast or formula), but the child just simply is not chunky! 

Maybe that toddler is usually very well behaved, however his thrashing and screaming is because his mother had no other choice but to bring her son into an overstimulating environment as no one would watch him because of his difficulty.  Maybe that man offered to help with your cart, and hold the door for you, not because he is being patriarchal, but because he chooses to be courteous to all, and to put himself last.  Maybe that woman looks poorly not because she doesn't care about herself, but because she cannot afford enough fresh and good food, or the right supplements she might need at that time. Maybe that boy is struggling with his studies because he hears that men aren't emotional, but a manly man who wants to uses his hands in an ordered way is wrong, and all he wants is to be in the woods wild and free, but no one cares.  Maybe that girl is struggling with relationships because she has always heard that it is her fault if something goes wrong, because she was never told that she could be happy too.  We were all someone's cuddly and snugly baby once.  We are loved individually by Christ.  We are all on different journeys.  While many actions deserve to be chastised, there are so many more that deserve our charity.   Conclusions should not be made prematurely, caution should be taken.  It is okay to wait on making a decision about a person, but only if we are proactive in trying to be understanding.   Do not accept anything as truth if it lacks love. Do not accept anything as love if it lacks truth. 

St Edith Stein