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  Frithjof Schuon on Christianity Back to the List of Slideshows
Detail from The Tribute Money,
by Masaccio, 15th c. (C.E.)
slide 16 of 17

Christian charity neither has nor can have any interest in “well-being” for its own sake, because true Christianity, like every orthodox religion, considers that the only true happiness human society can enjoy is its spiritual wellbeing.… (from “The Particular Nature and Universality of the Christian Tradition”, p 25)
At a time when the demands of secular modernity have pressed the churches to emphasise charitable works at the expense of their pontifical and sacramental duties, Schuon provides a salutary reminder of the true meaning of charity.
…When a work of charity is accomplished through love of God, or in virtue of the knowledge that “I” am the “neighbor” and that the “neighbor” is “myself”—a knowledge that implies this love—the work in question has for the neighbor not only the value of an outward benefit, but also that of a benediction. On the other hand, when charity is exercised neither from love of God nor by virtue of the aforesaid knowledge, but solely with a view to human “well-being” considered as an end in itself, the benediction inherent in true charity does not accompany the apparent benefaction, either for the giver or for the receiver. (from “The Particular Nature and Universality of the Christian Tradition”, p 25)
This Christian Charity is an esoteric element of the Christian tradition that:
…corresponds to the Hindu ahimsa, “non-harming”, which can go so far as to renounce our legitimate rights, hence deliberately to step out of the mesh of human interests and social justice; it is to offer the left cheek to him who has struck the right and always to give more than one has to. (from “Outline of the Christic Message”, p. 2)
According to Schuon, “Charity is the most important of the three theological virtues”, for:
…The Love of God, or the Charity that has as its object the divine Perfections and not our own well-being, is Knowledge of the one and only divine Reality, in which the apparent reality of the created is dissolved—a knowledge that implies the identification of the soul with its uncreated Essence, which is yet another aspect of the symbolism of Love—so the love of one’s neighbor is basically nothing else than knowledge of the indifferentiation before God of all that is created. (from “The Particular Nature and Universality of the Christian Tradition”, p 24)
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