By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, firstname.lastname@example.org
December 16, 2017
THIS is how we should give if we want to follow the example of Christ. We have to give to others not only things but also our own selves without expecting any recognition nor any reward.
This was clearly taught by Christ when he said that when we hold a banquet, we should not invite those who can invite us in return, but rather those – “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” – who are unable to invite us in return. (cfr Lk 14,12-14)
“Blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you,” he said, “for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (cfr Lk 14,12-14) Let’s always keep these words of Christ that assure us of what we are going to receive in heaven if we are generous with others here on earth.
We have to make an effort, always asking, of course, for the grace of God first of all, so that we can learn to assume this attitude with respect to our self-giving. In the end, this will make us to be like Christ who gave himself totally to us, including giving his life for our sins.
Let’s remember what he told his disciples: “Freely you have received, freely you have to give.” (Mt 10,8) Gratuitousness should characterize our self-giving to God and to others, just as gratuitousness characterizes God’s love for us. Such gratuitousness will gain us much more than what we give away.
In this regard, we have to do some continuing battle against our unavoidable tendency to be calculating in our self-giving. Not only do we have to contend with our personal weaknesses in this regard. We also have to contend with a tremendous cultural environment, so prevalent these days, that not only is not conducive to this attitude of Christian generosity but is also hostile to it.
We constantly have to rectify our intentions when we have to give to others – be it things, a service, or matter of attention and affection. This is especially so when our giving is for God. Let’s never forget that God cannot be outdone in generosity.
Remember that episode of the couple Ananias and Sapphira as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. (cfr 5,1-11) They sold a piece of property, but instead of giving the whole proceeds to the apostles, they gave only a part and kept the rest, lying to the Holy Spirit in the process. For this, they met sudden death.
We should see to it that our gestures of self-giving is whole-hearted and is inspired by true love that can only come from the love of God for us. We have to avoid playing games in this regard, for God knows everything and would deal with us the way we deserve.
We have to learn to be truly generous, neither counting the cost nor expecting any return. This obviously is not easy to do, given our wounded human condition. But if we always go to Christ to get inspired by his example and to ask for his grace, we can do it. The impossible becomes possible!
Everyday, we have to find opportunities to practice and grow in this virtue of generosity, always aware that Christ is always with us and is showing us the way and how to behave and react to any situation we find ourselves in.
So when we find ourselves in some difficulties or are hounded by temptations, let’s never delay in going immediately to him to ask for help and guidance.