For us as Christians the act of charity is not only encouraged, but also an essential part of our faith.
Just as Christ commanded us to, “love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
Today Saint John Bosco reminds us that the way to follow Christ’s commandment is to give to others without expecting anything in return. For it is through this powerful act of love and generosity that the Church is made whole.
When the church was still young, the apostles set a wonderful example for us by encouraging its members to share their possessions with one another.
In this way, they ensured that none of the believers were without the essentials for life. Fast forward to the present day, when we find that the church is home to two polar opposite groups of people: those who are without even the most fundamental requirements for life, and those who live in affluence.
What kind of reaction should we have to this circumstance? Our solution is what we are doing right now, which is returning to the word of God to learn why we should give, how we should give, and most importantly, how our hearts should be while we are giving.
The Greatest Donation to Humankind
The Lord is one of charity and generosity.
For the sake of our redemption, and to ensure that we may still share in His eternal life despite our sins, God sent his one and only son to die on the cross in our stead.
This act reflects the pinnacle of giving without expecting in return.
As human beings who are hopelessly lost and completely corrupt, God, in his kindness, sent Christ to come into the world and offer himself as a sacrifice to atone for our wrongdoings.
If our Lord is willing to do the unthinkable and suffer in our place, what more should we as devote Christians also share our love and charity to our neighbors.
Love Is The Foundation of All Giving
Any act of charity is only possible if it is made from a place of love.
The reason Christ was able to sacrifice so much for our behalf is because of the unshakeable love that He has for all of His children.
Charity should never be about the amount that we put in or financial value that is offered, but rather the love that we have when giving.
As Mother Teresa put it, “Intense love does not measure. It just gives.”
Therefore, the first thing for us to realize is that God has given us the most important thing in life, and that is a relationship with him through belief and trust in his son as lord and savior.
Because of this relationship, we have been given every spiritual blessing and every good thing in our lives, and God has given us his word that he would provide for all of our needs in accordance with the wealth and grandeur that he possesses.
As believers, we have faith that God our Father and Provider, will continue to care for us. Keeping this in mind should encourage us to assist and provide for others who are in need whenever we have the opportunity to do so.
We donate because Christ has given us everything, and he is the rightful owner of everything we possess.
We are merely stewards of his property; with the obligation to spread love to our neighbor and contribute to those that are in need of our aid.
Contributions to the Community
Often times people associate the term “charity” with financial contributions. In fact, giving financial aid is merely a small form of charity.
As Christians inspired by the love of Christ, there are so many ways that we can give to others that will make a bigger impact on their lives rather than money.
You do not need to possess great wealth in order to give the biggest donation.
St. Paul highlights the generosity of those who were destitute and were going through sorrow but were still giving despite their circumstances.
This latter portion is well underlined by Paul in this letter. 2 Corinthians 8:2 “In the midst of a very painful affliction, both their boundless joy and their great poverty welled up in generous abundance.”
This teaches us not to use our financial predicament as an excuse not to contribute or be helpful to other people, as God has endowed us with a great multitude of gifts and blessings that we are called to put into action.
You Have Been Blessed With Gifts
It serves as a reminder that if we are indeed the sons of God, we should view the things that are found on this earth not as ends in themselves but rather as tools that we might employ for the purpose of bringing glory to God.
The number of possessions we have or the sum of money that is in our bank account is not a factor in determining the extent of our capacity for generosity.
It looks beyond such things and considers the requirements of other people. The idea behind this is that we should not just think about our own needs and wants, but also think about the needs of others as if they were our own needs.
This should be done in the same way that we think about our own needs and goals. Having this mindset of charity enables us to notice and recognize the various ways in which we may make use of what we have, whether it be a skill or a physical object, to assist those who are struggling.
The Attitude of Giving
Last but not least, when you contribute, you should keep in mind that you should not be like the Pharisees, who’s main reason for charity is to draw attention to themselves and to let everyone know how “generous” they are.
Giving should never be about ourselves but for the benefit of others. Only then shall God take pride in our contributions and grant us the rewards that He has promised in His kingdom.
“Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.– Matthew 6:1-4
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Take pride that you have been called by God, and blessed with his graces in your life and never cease to spread his love & word to the world through our faith and acts of kindness.
Prayer to Saint John Bosco
“Dear Saint John Bosco, I thank you for reminding me of the need to be generous to others.
I acknowledge that I have been blessed and redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Guide me to share the love that I have received from God to those around me.
May I carry the light of Christ as I journey through out the day, and light the shadows all who draw near.
Help me to follow the example of Christ by focusing on bringing light to others.”