Saturday, March 8, 2014

Day 4: The Joy of Giving

The third discipline of Lent is almsgiving.  On Wednesday, Pope Francis had this to say about giving to the needy:  “Gratuity should be one of the characteristics of a Christian, who, aware of having received everything from God freely, that is without any merit, learns to give to others freely. Today often gratuity is not part of everyday life, where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculation and measurement. Almsgiving helps us to live the gratuitousness of the gift, which is freedom from the obsession with possessing things, [freedom from] the fear of losing what one has, from the sadness of those who do not want to share their well-being with others.”

And there is an inherent joy in giving.  When we realize how trivial material possessions are and how much joy we receive in serving the needy, we are prompted to live in a constant state of giving.  That is why Lent should be a time of detachment, of letting go of the things that truthly possess us.  God has blessed us in so many ways. Yet we hold on to those blessings as possessions that are exclusive to us when in reality we are called to share those blessings with others particularly the poor.  Pray during these 40 days that we may be set free from anything material that may possess us and may discover the joy of giving.  When we rely solely on God, then we are free to joyfully give without expecting anything in return. During Lent, how are we sharing the blessings God has given us with those less fortunate?  How are we learning to joyfully give?