Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Beggar who Gives Alms

Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Saint Paul instructs the Church in Corinth on Christian life, here focusing on the virtue of selflessness.  What the world regards grudgingly, Paul describes as a great joy, the joy of giving.

Today's Psalm has the verse describing a good man as, "Open handed, he gives to the poor". Ps.112:9.  This reminds me of the central character of Les MisérablesJean Valjean.  Following his conversion from a bitter, self-seeking convict, Jean Valjean's circumstance goes from rags to riches back to rags.  However, his second period of rags can't hold back the new man of compassion and grace, to the point where the poor of Paris come to know him as "the beggar who gives alms".

The call to be a cheerful giver goes to the core of who I really am.  If I am a man truly converted, a spontaneous virtue would be cheerful giving.  Some Bible scholars say that should read "hilarious giving".  I should be howling with laughter, tears streaming down my face as I stuff twenty dollar notes onto the collection plate at church.  Does this happen?  No.  I still look at the ten dollar note on the collection plate and think how generous I am.  Further conversion is still required...

Lord Jesus, You gave everything you had to pay for my freedom.  Help me let go of my selfishness and become a cheerful giver.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

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