How often do you look around at your life and notice what you don’t have? While you may recognize your blessings, do you also notice what the people around you are buying or doing and wish you could do and have all the same things? While this mentality is normal, it’s not one that’s going to lead you to a happy, holy life. Ironically, it is often when we approach life with an attitude of gratitude and generosity that we find the most benefits – in this life and the next.
Recently on St. Joseph’s Workshop, Fr. Matthew Spencer, OSJ reflected on the writing of St. Basil the Great and an analogy that he used when teaching about generosity and the Christian life. St. Basil the Great, a Doctor of the Church, said:
O man, be like the earth. Bear fruit like her and do not fall short of what mere inanimate matter can achieve.
Fr. Matthew explained that St. Basil was using the earth as an example of fruitfulness, and that the earth gives without expecting anything in return, or any merit for what it gives.
“If the earth can be so fruitful, and not focus on getting anything in return, how much more you and I, as children of God with intellect and will and the ability to discern, how much more you and I should be fruitful. How much more you and I should give,” Fr. Matthew said.
“We look at different things in life that don’t have a soul, yet are bearing fruit. And you and I, with an immortal soul, made in the image and likeness of God, should be bearing so much more fruit.”
But unlike the earth, St. Basil points out, when we bear fruit we do receive something in return. While we should not expect the one to whom we have given to repay us, we should seek to be generous in this life because in doing so we will receive a bountiful reward in heaven.
“When we give to others we ourselves receive in abundance,” Fr. Matthew said. “We receive God’s grace, we receive the merit of cooperating with God’s grace, only because of the Cross of Christ. And just as wheat falls to the ground and there is fruit, as Jesus says, 30, 60, 100-fold. So when you and I give to those who hunger it brings great profit. Not only to us now, but especially in the world to come.”
The challenge for all Christians is to look at the life of Christ and realize that if we are followers of Jesus we need to give of ourselves as He did. In what areas of your life are you holding on to things of the world when, out of love for Christ, you have the opportunity to be more generous?
“You and I need to learn to be generous, to try to do it cheerfully, and to do it out of love for Christ,” Fr. Matthew said. “To empty ourselves as Jesus emptied Himself, in order that God might fill us back up, in order that God might bless us abundantly. … This is what the Christian life is supposed to witness, what Jesus lived on this earth. It’s what you and I need to preach to the world and give to the world.
If you feel called to be generous with the blessings the Lord has given, you have a special opportunity this week to give generously AND help Relevant Radio® preach the Gospel to the world. By making a pledge during our Reach Out and Respond Pledge Drive you will be practicing generosity out of love for Christ, and bringing Christ to millions of people across the country! Every pledge is appreciated, so make yours today!
Listen to the full reflection below: