Spirituality, fruit of walking, by Angelo Cannata

46 Spirituality of charity

In the last posts of this blog two lines of thought have taken shape and we can now bring them to a fruitful synthesis. The first line, followed in the posts from 36 to 39, focused on love; the second, in posts from 41 to 45, covered the particularism of being there. Now we can highlight that both contain an implicit orientation of spirituality towards relationality, sociality. Love is undoubtedly relationality, while considering ourselves special beings who are not the center of the world leads us to a greater attention to the other. This shift in emphasis helps to give a proper orientation to spirituality, usually understood like attention of the individual person towards himself, towards the dynamics that take place within him. This shift was already contained in the logo chosen for the website, the two hands that are held in a common path.

In dealing with social relations, we can consider Sartre’s approach too destructive (“Hell is other people”) and the Levinas’ one too naively optimistic; surely now we are not here to follow a middle path. Rather, we consider opportune finding ways to walk, that will lead to social relations of improvement, progress, growth, at least as a collective human perception. Now, if already spirituality in itself can be considered a way of research worthy of continuous deepening, and with it the spiritualities of love, forgiveness, being, no doubt another spirituality that deserves research is that of the relationship with the other or others.

On this topic, Christianity has to offer one more time a category that deserves to be taken for a recovery to a non-metaphysical, non-dogmatic humanism: it is the category of charity, also called, with greek term, agape (αγάπη). How to understand this category in ways free from interference of faith? Certainly we do not intend to get rid of Sartre as if he were obsolete: the other is hell also, the concept of universal spirituality as evil remains valid. In the way so far covered, however, we have formed a wealth of mind settings that can provide a good context in which to carry out this type of research, because actually it is research: the performative interpretation of charity is also testing and questioning of life to try ways of growth. Even charity is no exception to the lack of objectivity: even an expensive perfume can be considered more necessary than alms to poors, just by Jesus himself (Mark 14:3-9). It can be understood, as well, as a way by which nature criticizes itself, for example about to the law of the strongest.

So, it will be a modest charity, conscious of being always polluted by something, by selfishness, a charity that doubts even about its own existence; surely it will not be important to let the right hand know something about the left hand doubts even existence. Charity will be a facet, a reflection of spirituality in course of cultivation, with the desire to share it with others. We know that each sharing is polluted by the desire to overpower the other, but this, rather than detracting us from it, simply serves to remind us that this attempt to love, to share, to cultivate the well-being of feeling ourselves cooperators to good, will also be critical research and self-criticism. In this respect the path of spirituality expressed in this site can be considered in this way.

Charity

 

Comment on

Go to the discussion on this page in the forum.

 

This post was published on 26 October 2016
Last update: 28 October 2016.