Monday, August 1, 2011
August 1 -- Feast of Faith, Hope, Charity, & Wisdom
Although it seems allegorical, there is a good chance that not one but two sets of sisters (or at least young friends) with names that translated to Faith, Hope, and Charity were martyred by the Romans. The explanation, remarkably simple once it has been explained, is that Christians often took names of virtues when they were baptized and these three particular virtues are extolled by St. Paul. Well, actually Paul says Faith, Hope, and Love in First Corinthians, but the English word love applies to four distinct concepts in Greek (eros, agape, philia, storge) so Charity is substituted, coming through the Latin caritas (as opposed to amor).
The first group (Pistis, Elpis, and Agape) were martyred along with the mother, Saint Sophia (Wisdom), during the reign of Hadrian. Their tomb on the Via Aurelia was a popular destination for pilgrims.
The second group, killed somewhat later and buried on the Appian Way, were Fides (Faith), Spes (Hope), and Caritas (Charity / Love). They were said to be the companions, though not necessarily the daughters, of Saint Sapientia (Wisdom).
Glenn Beck, working with portrait artist Paula Hawkins, re-imagined them not as young girls from Rome but rather as founding fathers. Samuel Adams is Faith, George Washington is Hope, and Ben Franklin is Charity. Actually, I'm pretty sure that any of the four Greek concepts for Love would apply equally well to Dr. Franklin. Most of us probably would have led with Eros, but Agape, Philia (he was from Philadelphia, after all) and even Storge would could work for him.
Posted by Tom Major at 4:00 AM