[of sharing in love] was not to make everyone poor, but that none of their members should ever be in want.”
If this is right, and I believe it clearly is, then the new global context calls upon all of us who have much, which includes most of those who read this blog, to embrace charity with a more open spirit and intelligent social theology. What is lacking is both the theology and the will to serve.
“Service,” said Father Cantalamessa, “is a universal principle; it applies to every aspect of life: the state ought to be at the service of its citizens, politics at the service of the state, the doctor at the service of his patients, the teacher at the service of his pupils, etc. But it applies in an altogether special way to the servants of the Church.”
Service is not, in itself, a virtue. It flows from various other virtues, “especially humility and charity” adds Cantalamessa. “It is one way in which that love which ‘does not pursue selfish interests, but those of others',’ manifests itself, and gives of itself without seeking any return. Service in the Gospel is unlike service in the world, [it] is not the proper characteristic of the inferior, of the one in need, but rather of the superior, of the one who is raised high.”
Consider what he is saying:
1. Service is universally important and commonly recognized by ordinary people as such.
2. Service applies to every aspect of life.
3. The state should serve its people, politics serves the state, etc.
4. The servants of Christ have a unique calling to serve because of their Lord’s example and his teaching them to serve as he did.
5. Service flows out of virtues such as humility and charity.
6. Service manifests itself in a way that expects nothing in return.
7. Service is not an expression of my being superior to the one I serve but the exact opposite; i.e. I am the inferior serving the one who is greater! This makes Christian service radically “other worldly” as theologians have put it.