Disinterested Generosity

2.23

I remembered when I read the autobiography of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, in one of the chapters she shared her views regarding charity. And today’s Gospel passage is one of those whom she quoted and explained. What seized me are these words in the passage: “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow.”

I remembered that the saint, regarding this passage said: “When someone asks nicely, it doesn’t cost me to give, but if, unfortunately, they don’t use delicate enough words, instantly, the soul revolts if it isn’t set firmly on charity. It finds a thousand reasons to refuse what is asked of it, and it’s only after having convinced the asker of her lack of refinement that finally gives by grace what she’s asking for, or that it gives her a light service that would have required twenty times less time to fulfill that it took to lay claim to imaginary rights.

It struck me since I was guilty of what she had described. There were many instances that when I was doing a “charitable” or “generous” deed but made it sure that a part of myself or my rights was acknowledged. Our Good Lord knows too well that sometimes when we do things out of love or charity, it could also be not disinterested.

I remember giving a friend, who loves St. Dominic Savio so dearly, a prayer card with a tiny piece of fabric from the saint’s own clothing attached to it. It is my only card of that sort and it is very special, since it has the relic of the saint. I know very well that my friend will be greatly happy because of this treat for his birthday. So I was really excited to hand it to him personally. Looking back now, I could have just dropped it in his place without him knowing from whom it came. I could have pleased Jesus more by loving in hiddenness. My friend would surely be happy, anyway, whether he knows or not of the giver because of the gift. However, out of my desire that he will appreciate me more and I will receive thanks for it since the card is very special to me and letting that thing go is very difficult, I had wanted thanks and appreciation. It could have been a great time to be truly charitable with a disinterested love. I could have made Jesus happier with my love.

But I am never disheartened even if I have failed many times for I am thankful that the Lord has made me realize this today. And so I could make up for the lost chances and with a more vigilant heart, wait and anticipate for new opportunities of loving Him with disinterested generosity.

By Sem. Tristan Pacheco

THE GOSPEL TODAY

MT 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

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