Marguerite Porete: Charity

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And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14

“Charity obeys no created thing except Love.

Charity possesses nothing of her own, and should she possess something she does not say that it belongs to her.

Charity abandons her own need and attends to that of others.

Charity asks no payment from any creature for some good or pleasure that she has accomplished.

Charity has no shame, nor fear, nor anxiety. She is so upright she cannot bow on account of anything that might happen to her.

Charity neither makes nor takes account of anything under the sun, for the whole world is only refuse and leftovers.

Charity gives to all what she possesses of worth, without retaining anything for herself, and with this she often promises what she does not possess through her great largesse, in the hope that the more she gives the more remains in her.

Charity is such a wise merchant that she earns profits everywhere where others lose, and she escapes the bonds that bind others and thus she has great multiplicity of what pleases Love.

And note that the one who would have perfect charity must be mortified in the affections of the life of the spirit through the work of charity.”

Marguerite Porete in The Mirror of Simple Souls, trans. Ellen L. Babinsky (Paulist, 1993) 82. Special thanks to Daily Meditations reader, Bill Crowe, for sharing this with me.

Marguerite Porete was a French-speaking mystic and a Beguine. She wrote the book, The Mirror of Simple Souls for which she was burned at the stake as a heretic in Paris, 1310.

Charity is often defined as the voluntary giving of help to those in need. It is inseparable from love and impossible to extend to others without love.

Charity led me to answer a call today. It came at 7:35am. “Are you Rev. Dr. Gary Hoag?” the voice inquired. “Yes, I am.” I replied. “You have been cleared to visit Dan Busby.”

I learned it was a split vote between the doctors. The decision tipped in my favor by the patient advocate who told me that “patients like Dan turn around when visited by a person of the cloth.”

My dear friend’s life was hanging on by a thread this weekend. He had almost given up hope. Many rallied around him and we called the world to pray. I waited and the call came.

I booked a one-way ticket on the 11:20am flight, which was delayed. I finally landed at Washington Dulles at 5:45pm, jumped in a rental car, and raced to the hospital in Baltimore by 7:30pm.

The cover photo shows the place of honor they gave me in the staging room. That had my gear in it. “Put on charity.” I reminded myself.

After putting on multiple masks, a face shield, a yellow outfit, and blue rubber gloves, I was reminded of all the possible risks and dangers before entering. “Charity has no fear,” I thought to myself.

“Let’s do this,” I replied. “I want to lift up my friend.” It was sobering to walk a Covid ward with 16 beds given a 1% chance of walking out of there alive. I was escorted to “Area 51” as I affectionately called it, Dan’s room, #51, right next to the nurses station.

After undergoing further sanitization rituals, I entered his room. I think the visit really lifted his spirits. Our 90 minutes together was priceless.

He told me how hard it was sitting in the room, all alone, feeling like he was in the dark. That inspired me to read Mark 10:46-52 with him before I left. There, Jesus beckoned the blind man to come to him.

Dan could relate. He felt blind to all that was going on. I asked him the question Jesus asked Bartimaeus. “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “I would ask Jesus to help me close this chapter on Covid and seamlessly start my cancer treatment.” So that’s just what we did. It was a sweet prayer time.

Then I drove 90 miles to Winchester, Virginia, where I just checked in to a hotel. I am posting this just after midnight. Tomorrow I visit his wife to encourage her, then back to the hospital.

Dan’s excited that I am staying for a few days. “I was not sure I’d make it to the weekend,” he said. “Now I am sure I can.” All glory to God. Keep praying everyone!