LET’S be cheerful givers as much as we can, because
according to St. Paul, God loves them. In whatever we do or give, we
should do so without sadness or compulsion, he said. (cfr 2 Cor
9,6-7) Things have to be done freely. “Freely you have received,
freely you have to give,” Christ said. (Mt 10,8)
We have to learn to be generous and to give not only
things but our very own selves as gifts to others. St. Paul reassures
us that if we sow sparingly we will also reap sparingly. But if we sow
bountifully, we will also reap bountifully.
This logic echoes what Christ himself said: “Give, and it
will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together
and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure
you use, it will be measured to you.” (Lk 6,38)
And again, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or
sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake
will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”
Let’s not be afraid to give ourselves to others as
generously as possible, without counting the cost. God cannot be
outdone in generosity, one saint said, with the abundant spiritual
fruit of his work as proof to that assertion.
And let’s be generous without expecting any return for
others, not even some acknowledgment from them. Christ himself
practically told this to us when he said: “Take care not to perform
your righteous deeds in order that people may see them. Otherwise, you
will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” (Mt 6,1)
That’s right. We have to learn how to pass unnoticed while
doing a lot of good. We have to do battle with the present obsession
many people have of wanting to be seen and praised and honored.
This will help us to have purity of intention in our good
deeds and to avoid being corrupted by worldly allurements. This will
help us to stay focused on our eternal destination which is heaven and
to avoid getting stranded in some worldly thing or place.
When we are cheerful in our self-giving, it can only mean
that we are doing things really out of love for God and for others.
And we can have focus, eagerness and perseverance in the performance
of good things.
This does not mean that we would avoid suffering
completely. We will always have it one way or another. But when we are
cheerful, we will always get some measure of relief. The awareness
itself that we are doing things out of love for God and for others
will always have a way of filling our heart with joy and peace.
This generous and cheerful spirit does not contradict the
requirements of prudence, understood as prudence of the spirit and not
prudence of the flesh or worldly prudence.
Though we may appear to be a failure according to worldly
standards, let’s be convinced that being a cheerful giver as
envisioned by St. Paul is worth all the effort.