Charity even when it hurts

ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato - The Philippine Star

Henry Ward Beecher once said that every charitable act is a stepping stone to heaven. I recently had a friend who, as she and I were coordinating for Odette on relief through the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told me how her father reminded her always about giving until it hurts.

This really struck me as I suddenly remembered how in my twenties I was taught by a Spanish priest that charity is not charity unless it hurts. Growing up we were taught at home and in school to share our blessings with others. These were manifested through books, clothes, toys and other things that children our age would appreciate. In those days, sharing didn’t really hurt – in fact, it felt good to share with other kids my age and we learned to value the gift of sharing.

As I got older, however, I began to learn about the gift of sharing even when it was hard. There were times when right after a windfall, let’s say in a form of a bonus, I found myself having to let it go for the sake of another. As time passed by, and I began to be in charge of teams, all the more I found myself having to give even when it really really hurt. But as my priest friend once said, it isn’t really charity if you didn’t feel the sacrifice, and sacrifice is certainly uncomfortable.

Self-sacrifice is always the hardest but this is what is required of us when it comes to charity. It is the same kind of sacrifice that must be instilled in our communities. Service and sacrificial love is the most important expression of every human being regardless of religion. If we turn to the natural laws, religion is not a requirement in doing good. Both Christians and Muslims, for example, are called to be charitable as charity is an act of graciousness, compassion, nobleness and even forgiveness.

Being charitable gives us an opportunity to be united with God, hence one can understand how great a calling this truly is. Therefore, while self sacrifice can hurt, more so when it comes at the wrong time, the rewards come with a sense of joy. People always wondered about the energy Mother Teresa had and truly, as she says, it comes from how much love we put into giving.

Giving is not just about donations – it is about making a difference. Although it may hurt at times to give a little bit more or more than we have already given, great things out of great love matters most. Even when it hurts.


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