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Virtue of Charity-St. Leo

Resources for the Lenten Season


The Virtue of Charity

Pope St. Leo the Great

Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church  


Virtue of CharityThis excerpt from a sermon by Saint Leo the Great (Sermo 10 in Quadragesima, 3-5: PL 54, 299-301) on the theological virtue of charity or divine love (called “agape” in the New Testament) is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for Tuesday of the 4th week of Lent.  The accompanying lenten biblical reading is Leviticus 19: 1-18, 31-37.  This sermon, originally given around the year 450 AD, outlines the importance of the corporal works of mercy, especially during the season of Lent.  It is, in fact, a clear testimony to the observance of Lent in the early Church (5th century) and how fasting should be tied to almsgiving.


In the gospel of John the Lord says: In this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other.  In a letter of the same apostle we read: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God; he who does not love does not know God for God is love.


The faithful should therefore enter into themselves and make a true judgment on their attitudes of mind and heart.  If they find some store of love’s fruit in their hearts, they must not doubt God’s presence within them.  If they would increase their capacity to receive so great a guest, they should practice greater generosity in doing good, with persevering charity.


If God is love, charity should know no limit, for God cannot be confined.


Any time is the right time for works of charity, but these days of Lent provide a special encouragement.  Those who want to be present at the Lord’s Passover in holiness of mind and body should seek above all to win this grace, for charity contains all other virtues and covers a multitude of sins.


As we prepare to celebrate that greatest of all mysteries, by which the blood of Jesus Christ did away with our sins, let us first of all make ready the sacrificial offerings of works of mercy.  In this way we shall give to those who have sinned against us what God in his goodness has already given to us.


Let us now extend to the poor and those afflicted in different ways a more open-handed generosity, so that God may be thanked through many voices and the relief of the needy supported by our fasting.  No act of devotion on the part of the faithful gives God more pleasure than that which is lavished on his poor.  Where he finds charity with its loving concern, there he recognizes the reflection of his own fatherly care.


In these acts of giving do not fear a lack of means.  A generous spirit is itself great wealth.  There can be no shortage of material for generosity where it is Christ who feeds and Christ who is fed.  In all this activity there is present the hand of him who multiplies the bread by breaking it, and increases it by giving it away.


The giver of alms should be free from anxiety and full of joy.  His gain will be greatest when he keeps back least for himself.  The holy apostle Paul tells us: He who provides seed for the sower will also provide bread for eating; he will provide you with more seed, and will increase the harvest of your goodness, in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.  Amen.



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To read what Origen, an Early Church Father, wrote about the sacrifice of Isaac  -- Click here!


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The Virtues: Seven Habit of ChampionsEWTN - The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a spirited 8-part mediation in this new EWTN Home Video on the four moral virtues - Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, and Temperance - as well as the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.


Seven Habits of Champions lays out how God's inspiration for Christian living, contained in the Scriptures and made known through the Catechism and Church documents, is accessible to everyone and demonstrated for us through the lives of the saints. We are all called to holiness and the works of mercy. And though the practice of these seven "habits," heroic virtues can be attained!  Great series to watch during the Lenten season or anytime!


Each DVD tape contains 4 episodes aired on EWTN!

DVD 1:

Introduction to the Virtues

The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence

The Cardinal Virtue of Justice

The Cardinal Virtue of Temperance

DVD 2:

The Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude

The Theological Virtue of Faith

The Theological Virtue of Hope

The Theological Virtue of Charity 

Set of Two DVD with 8 shows - $49.95


Come to the Table - Meredith Gould
 Come to the Table: A Catholic Passover Seder for Holy Week Come to the Table is for anyone seeking to integrate the traditions of Judaism and Catholic Christianity. Interfaith families will find it an especially useful companion during the Lenten Season, Passover and Holy Week. An amazing book that invites Christians to more fully appreciate Last Seder where Jesus established the Eucharist as the sacrament of charity and unity.


 Lent, Catholic Church, Easter, Passion of Jesus Making the Most out of Lent - CD
Lent is not just about giving up junk food – it is about improving your own spiritual nutrition, and sharing the bread of life with a hungry world through charity and the works of mercy. In this talk you'll learn about the biblical and historical origins of the :enten season, how we got the idea that Lent is about "giving stuff up," and how we can nourish ourselves spiritually so that we'll be different people when the Easter Alleluias finally sound in our ears this year. 


Feast of Faith DVD & Workbook

 The Year of the Eucharist, Feast of Faith, The Eucharist, Mass, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Pope John Paul II The Eucharist is truly a feast and in this enlightening, four-part series developed to help Catholics and those becoming Catholics understand and appreciate the Eucharist, the sacrament of charity. Dr. D’Ambrosio offers profound reflections and practical suggestions to make the Holy Eucharist more truly the “source and summit” of our Christian experience. The DVD and Workbook Set is perfect for your Lenten journey!


The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They Matter

Fathers of the Church Early Church Fathers CD by Marcellino D'AmbrosioIn a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and fascinating stories about St. Augustine, Ambrose and other intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers.  Though the ranks of the fathers span a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most pressing questions of our day, including the call to generosity, charity, and the works of mercy.  In this dynamic talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these Fathers of the Early Church have to teach us. 

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