For the Church, the respect and attention to those most in need demonstrates the true character of any society. Through its social teaching, the Catholic Church “wants simply to promote a humane State. A State which recognizes that its first duty is to defend the fundamental rights of human beings, especially the rights of the weak.” Pope John Paul II
The world we live in is becoming more uncertain: the ephemeral replaces the long term, individualism replaces the collective, materialism takes over values and ego tramples the dignity of man. We are now so constrained by the very rapid changes that we need to assimilate more quickly. We must constantly evolve and adapt to new issues that knock on our door: natural disasters, wars, misery, disease, injustice and poverty. The world is changing and men suffer.
Faithful to the hospitaller traditions of the Order of Saint Lazarus, volunteers from different cultures, languages and religions are given a common goal: to help and serve people in distress; regardless of their race, their colour or their religion, because we are all equal, the volunteers are the same.
Beyond these rights, men have responsibilities. The duty of charity is above all others. We have the right to be helped, but the duty to help others. That is what we do in the Order of Saint Lazarus. Saint Francis de Sales said “man is the perfection of the universe, the spirit is the perfection of humanity, love is the perfection of the spirit and charity is the perfection of love.” Without charity, there is no man.
Thank you for your interest in the Order of Saint Lazarus and do not hesitate to contact the representatives of the Order to help us make this world a better world.
H.E. Chevalier Giovanni Ferrara
Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Saint Lazarus
Charity is a virtue that leads us to desire to be a good neighbour. It is an act inspired by love of our neighbour.
Charity is one of the three theological virtues, defined by Saint Paul, along with faith and hope. It is the queen of virtues: the love of God and of the neighbour. Thomas Aquinas went so far as to say that it is the form of all the theological virtues.
The virtue of charity toward ones neighbour can be fulfilled through a work of beneficence, by making a donation, or by alms-giving. This is a private act, motivated by faith. It can be as simple as to decide to offer time, a service, love, money or something else to someone in need.
Acts of charity makes us say “My God, I love you with all my heart, and above all things, because you are infinitely good and infinitely lovable, and I love my neighbour as myself, out of love for you.”
Charity is to love as the Lord loved us.
It is to love unconditionally, without the possibility of being repaid.
Charity is not to pity, it is the willingness to love even our enemies.
The virtue of Charity urges us to do good for the sake of goodness.
The virtue of Charity is linked to that of Hope and Faith.