How much is enough?
Occasionally we give them some money ... or clothes that we no longer
want and would not be caught dead in, gifts (the least expensive
possible, or better yet, those that had been given us that we consider
useless or worthless and save for the occasion when a gift will
be required of us ... or which we were ready to throw out anyway).
We give them much advice — in this regard we are unstinting and
We are less generous with our time; we express appropriate sadness
and compassion but we invest nothing of ourselves in it; we are
quick to empathize but quicker still to forget ... and we assiduously
avoid the deeply needy.
We write out checks, tear them off and post them to some poor child
in an impoverished country — and never remember their name ... only
the deep, almost sensual sense of satisfaction that we are so
good, so generous, so loving of ... “what’s her name
We give far, far less of ourselves, for that is the most
valuable commodity of all ...
Even ... even if we give extravagantly of our money, generously
in our time, amply of ourselves — the Saints and Church Fathers
reminds us of the greatest gift of all (and it is not
ourselves ... sorry): The gift of God.
We hear an echo of this in St. Paul:
“And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the
poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned,
and have not love, it profits me nothing.”
(I Cor. 13.3)
We keep our money from the poor at the peril of our souls (and
we all have excuses ...), we give our refuse to Christ
when we toss our useless clothing to the poor; we give “wise”
counsel to the needy, but no bread. In a rare paroxysm of magnanimity
we even give ourselves!
But do we give God? Do we give Him Who is
most necessary to us, Who loves us above the loves of all others?
We are made in His image. We can. We can be
the face, the hand, the voice, of Jesus Christ to our brother,
our sister, needy or not – all cry out for Him in the dark watches
of the nights that leach into our lives from every shadow ...
sickness, loneliness, grief, death ...
Your money, your clothing, your checks, will never bring them
solace ... they will only find it in the face of God ... and
you alone can bring it.
Imagine ... you can!
The two words —
Jesus Christ — are the
most beautiful in the world! And you are ashamed
to utter them ... to give God to the world...? Jesus
spoke of those who are ashamed of Him in this world ... or perhaps
you have forgotten?
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him
will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His
glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
"Whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him
before My Father in Heaven.”
(St. Matthew 10.33)
Quite a sobering thought
— no? In fact, it should literally
“scare the Hell out of
Boston Catholic Journal