Caritas as Courageous Service
IN THE UNIVERSITY, the Academic Year 2014-2015 is devoted to the promotion of the Augustinian value caritas.Caritas or love may have a multitude of expressions or indicators, but none is more concrete than service. From an Augustinian perspective, service comes from the bosom of love. A service that is born out of love is, first of all, a service that exudes joy, excitement and enthusiasm. More than a burden, service gives delight for it comes from the heart that is full of love.
Augustinian service is directed to others - to their welfare and well-being. Authentic service emanates from the real concern for people and their needs. It is altruistic and considers one’s own interest secondary. As a consequence, this kind of service does not count the cost; rather, it never tires of giving. This generosity flows from the realization that we were first and foremost recipients of God’s manifold blessings even before we became givers.
This generosity of God is also called grace. For Saint Augustine, everything is grace. Grace is a free gift of God; it is given not because of the merit that we have but simply out of God’s goodness. We who are recipients of God’s generosity are also encouraged to share the very gifts we have received from him -- our talents and resources -- so others may be enriched by our own poverty made rich by the grace of God. The multiplication of many generous hearts will surely lead to the multiplication of blessings and gifts, for God loves a cheerful giver. We serve for we have been first loved.