What does the word CHARITY mean, exactly? The word has many connotations these days – from simply giving alms to the poor, to a more divine, selfless way of giving.
So just in case you were wondering, here are the word’s origins. The rest is up to you.
“….The word “charity” entered the English language through the French word “charite” which was derived from the Latin “caritas“.
In the twelfth century it indicated a state of benevolance towards the poor.
In the fifteenth century charity was used to indicate ‘the state of love or simple affection which one was in or out of regarding one’s fellows; an occasion or body of people seeking to embody that state; the love of god, in both directions.
The fraternity was the embodiment of this ideal. In 1700, it meant ‘an optimistic judgement about the good intentions of others; an act of benevolence towards the poor or needy; an institution erected as a result of such an act.”
In Christian theology:
“…Love, in this sense of an unlimited loving-kindness towards all others, is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. In its most extreme form such love can be self-sacrificial. Confusion can arise from the multiple meanings of the English word “love.”
The love that is caritas is distinguished by its origin, being Divinely infused into the soul, and by its residing in the will rather than emotions, regardless of what emotions it stirs up. This love is necessary for salvation, and with it no one can be lost.”