Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flash Fiction: Charity

I have just realised that so far all the flash fictions look at virtue through the eyes of a less virtuous character. This one follows the same pattern (almost), but all the rest I've written (all but kindness, which is still unwritten) are a bit different - especially patience.

I've been thinking about charity over the past week or so. I feel that sometimes it’s far easier to be proud of others who are charitable than it is to be charitable ourselves. People often think that money and “things” are the only way (or at least the main way) to show charity towards others. I would argue that time is just as – if not more – charitable. There is also a false charity, one that’s based on appearance and not a heart attitude of generosity and caring. 

I'll get off my soap box now!

Here's a long definition of charity:
Generosity, charity, self-sacrifice; the term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving. In Christian theology, charity -- or love (agäpé) -- is the greatest of the three theological virtues. Love, in the 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. Such love is self-sacrificial. The love that is "caritas" (charity) 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. (Vice: greed.)



My best friend wanted to help in the church crèche. I decided to join her so I didn’t have to sit through the sermon. After an hour of wiping noses and bottoms I’d had enough. My knees and back were sore from giving countless horsey rides and I felt tired and grouchy. 

“This is the worst hour of my life.”

My bestie looked up from blowing raspberries on a toddler’s tummy. “Why’s that?”

“It’s so demeaning to look after people. Anyone who decides to spend all their time caring for others just wants attention.”

“Does your comment include Mother Teresa?” 


PS. I would far rather listen to the sermon than help in creche - babies cry too much!!!

To read what others have written, follow this link!


  1. I'd rather hear the sermon myself, but as I value time more than money myself I do consider it the greater form of charity. This one seemed a little different in that it was the less Virtuous one sharing an activity with the Virtuous one rather than scrutinizing them--though I love the activity. Gotta be pretty selfless to take care of others' babies--especially for free.

  2. LMAO oh yeah, BOOM sit the F down, MC! I love this take on charity - I think it would appeal to someone more religious than I, of course. Charity for charity's sake.

  3. LOL Lissa! You make me laugh!
    I chose the church setting very specifically... which you've picked up on: charity for charity's sake, not for selfish reasons like getting out of listening to a sermon, as well as to comment on(very superficially) selfishness vs. love within the church.

    David - I chose the setting after considerable deliberation (you know, 10 min) so I'm glad you like it!

  4. I get the impression this person just doesn't get it, and won't find the joy in much of life.

  5. Rosie - I love your comment, because that's part of what I wanted to try to achieve, but wasn't sure how well it came across :)


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