Ave Maria MeditationsSaint Paul tells us which are the qualities that adorn charity. First he tells us that charity is patient with others. In order to do good we have to know how to bear evil, renouncing in advance any signs of annoyance, bad temper, or sharpness of manner. Patience denotes great fortitude. Charity will often demand patience if we are to bear with serenity the possible defects, the hostility, the suspicion, and the bad humor of people we have to deal with. This virtue inclines us to wait for the appropriate moment in responding. Charity will help us to give the answer that will often enable our words to reach the hearts of those who are difficult to get on with so that they can improve. Patience is a great virtue which helps us to live in harmony with others.
Love is kind: that is to say, it is disposed to do good to everyone. Kindness can only find room for itself in a large and generous heart. What is best in our selves must be for others.
Love is not jealous: while jealously is saddened by another’s good, charity rejoices in that same good. Many sins against charity flow from jealousy…pleasure in another’s mishaps and chagrin at his good fortune. Often it is jealousy that causes friendships to collapse and fraternal ties to be broken. It is like a cancer that gnaws away at the harmony and peace among men. St. Thomas calls it the mother of hatred.