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Beneath the ashes of LESAN Philanthropy to the embers of Christian Humanism. L


If LESANS of every expression and none were to enter into any fundraising competition, they are sure to score the A-list. They are quite professional at it and in fact classy.

In 2010, the African Union declared 2010-2020 the decade of the African Woman. 

Ghanaian Prof, Dr. Aggrey captures the magnificence of the education of the woman when he notes: If you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a family. Education of the girl child in Africa is by all standards ad rem and a noble ideal.

But don’t we also know the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

It is not as secular humanists or atheistic humanists that LESANS labor every year to “give back” to their alma mater. Summoned by their faith, they respond as “Christian girls” and seek to improve the lot of many- a-girl-child in Cameroon. In short, love is the cardinal axis propelling such enormous sacrifices. And this love is not just “agape” but also “filial” as adopted daughters of Christ. The acts of charity are more than mere humanitarianism. The adjective “Christian” qualifying girls in reference to LESANS makes all the difference. It is a very big deal. It is not just the accidental frosting or occasional icing on the cake. 

St James reminds us that show me your faith without works and I by faith will show you my works. Faith without works is dead. (James 2:16)

One temptation to eschew within this context is that these acts of kindness could feed off into self-aggrandizement and vain glory. They may become acts of self-adulation and worship. Just as the heavens proclaim the wonders of God and the firmament the glory of the Lord, so too our good works must shine in the sight of men so that seeing our good works they may give praise to our Father in heaven.

If it is as Christian girls that LESANS raise funds to help underprivileged children, they cannot afford to circumvent some key standards.  I am sure LESANS will remember with nostalgia, the words of this hymn they chanted often at mass:

“If you bring your gifts to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gifts at the altar.

First make peace with your brother then come offer your gifts at the altar…”

This hymn enunciates a central principle in Christian charity: Peace precedes charity and becomes a conditio sine qua none for genuine charity. The heart that propels charity cannot at the same time be the engine for hatred. We must reexamine our acts of kindness to be sure they are not just a smokescreen or forms of manipulation. 

Virgil in Greek mythology in another context says it well: Fear the Greeks even when they come with gifts. This may just be another Trojan horse.

The great apostle, Paul, provides in that beautiful hymn of love in 1 Cor. 13, the litmus test for Christian charity. The whole chapter is worth pondering and spending time with. For the purpose of this reflection, v 3 stands out: I may give away everything I have, and even give up my own body to be burned, but if I have no love, this does me no good.

How many times do we say: Charity begins at home. 

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor.)

Charity begins at home. LESANS must come back home.

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