Faith, Hope & Charity

Faith, hope and charity are three human "virtues" that are often mentioned in tandem, implying that they are interconnected.  While they are all elements of human nature, I would argue that they they are distinct products of our intelligence and personal experience.

Faith, in essence, is the belief in something that we have not yet seen or experienced.  Aligned with trust, it may be faith in a deity or faith in another human being; in either case, this trust is modified by what we know, by what we don't know and by the influence of other trusted individuals in our lives.  Hope is a measure of our future expectations, generally based on our past experience.  Some are inclined to define it as one's degree of optimism while others view hope as nothing more than wishful thinking; again, such disparity reflects events that have already molded our lives.

In contrast to the intellectual, abstract nature of faith and hope, charity is an open choice to share our good fortune (however limited that might be), an act that directly and openly affects others.  One need not be wealthy to be charitable and gifts may be emotional, verbal or physical; expressions of empathy or support are as charitable as the donation of funds, products or services.  However, while our acts of charity may be admired and appreciated by others, we alone understand their motivation.