Whether we are rich “in the eyes of the world” or scrimping to make ends meet, all that has been given to us (time, talent, or treasure) is a gift from God for us to share with those in need. That can be difficult to hear. We might want to hold on to what we have in order to be sure we have enough for a rainy day. We might be reluctant to share our talents because they don’t seem as spectacular as the talents of the person next to us. We might want to protect what free time we have because we see no space for ourselves in the near future. Or, maybe we just are afraid we don’t have enough to share. It is precisely then that generosity and trust are called for.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians provides insight into this dilemma we face when he says: “Glory be to God whose power at work in us can do infinitely more than we can ever ask or imagine.” God can do in and through us what we can never do on our own. God is the personification of generosity. God gives God’s own self to us each time his voice rings out in sacred scripture. God gives God’s self each and every time we approach the altar of sacrifice to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. God gave God’s self when dying on the cross Jesus cried out: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” In comparison, what we have to offer is paltry. And yet, the gift of our time, our treasure, and our talents is what God asks of us and what God can work miracles with, if we are willing to turn over what we have for the sake of others.
Moving from the theoretical to the concrete, the feasts celebrating saints and souls this week brought “Nana ‘ran” (Moran) to mind. She was in her forties when her husband died, leaving her a widow with eleven children, one with cerebral palsy. She never complained, often said “God is good,” and always had a grateful heart. The little she had, she shared, and in doing so created a positive force of goodness around her. I also thought of Sister Eustace Caggiano, who died this fall at the age of 102, after having been a Sister of Saint Joseph for over 80 years. In the 1960s Sister Eustace was assigned to provide meals for the sisters in the Cathedral convent. She provided meals as well for children who came to school with no breakfast, for the homeless of the South End, and the new immigrants who came to the back door hungry and in need of assistance. For decades she worked at the Cardinal Cushing Spanish Speaking Center, providing clothing, shoes, and food for those in need. Eustace had little to offer by way of material possessions. What she did have—love in her heart and an appreciation of the dignity of the human person—she shared generously. God did the rest. God multiplied Eustace’s generosity and Bridget Moran’s faith, and with that, much good was generated. Can we trust that God will use what we give and create something good with it?
Take your next step: Think about the people you have known who have given freely of the gifts God has bestowed on them. Consider what gift God is asking you to share.