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He who does not give God,

gives too little ...

 

Pope Benedict XVI
 

Giving too little ...


W
e love people.

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 most generous.

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 time, amply of ourselves — our Holy Father 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. 1  (I Cor. 13.3)

 

The gift of God is the gift of love, — quóniam Deus cáritas est –   "because God is Love" 2. In fact, this is the very title of our Holy Father's First encyclical. I believe it is so because so much of the nature of love has been lost or obscured to us in a culture of sensuality and death, the sensuality that leads to death on so many levels, and the death that is sensuality on so many levels – and love is the antidote of death.

"... the very thing that the suffering person — every person — needs: namely: loving personal concern."... because in addition to justice man needs, and will always need, love."  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? (St. Matthew 10.33)

 

___________________________________________________________

1 (Et si distribúero in cibos páuperum omnes facultátes meas, et si tradídero corpus meum ita ut árdeam, caritátem autem non habúero, nihil mihi prodest.) *

2 I John 4.8

3 The Encyclical: "Deus Caritas Est"  (2.28.b) and (2.29) January 2006

 

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