Generosity and total detachment
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - December 19, 2018 - 12:00am

We have to learn the precious lesson Christ wants to impart to us in that episode where he praised the poor widow who gave two small coins to the temple treasury more than the rich ones who put a lot of money.


“Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth. But she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Lk 21,3-4)

The lesson to learn is that generosity is not a matter of how much we give but rather of total detachment from the things of this world so that our heart can only be for God. We therefore have to be wary of our strong, if often subtle, attachment to the things of this world such that our heart would at best be a divided heart, which is actually an impossibility.

That’s because in our relation with God, there is no middle ground. It is either we are with him completely or not at all. We have to overcome that strong tendency to think that we can be partly with God and partly with our own selves, even if we can say that we are giving God 99% of what we have and keep only 1% for us.

We have to give all. In fact, with God we have to give our very own selves, and not only things, not only some possessions. Remember Christ telling us that we have to love God with “all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mt 22,37)

Let’s hope that we can echo these words of an old song: “I have no use for divided hearts. I give mine whole, and not in parts.” Let’s strive to reach that goal. It’s not an easy goal, but neither is it impossible. With God’s grace and our all-out humble efforts, we can hack it.

But given our human condition which allows us to learn things in stages, we have to understand that every day we have to conquer our tendency to some earthly attachments so that we can say we are giving ourselves more and more to God until we give ourselves completely to him.

This will require a constant reminder and self-reassurance that it is all worthwhile to give and to lose everything for God because we will in fact gain a lot more than what we give. Let’s always remember Christ telling us “to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” (Mt 6,33)

We need to strengthen our faith and trust in Christ’s words and in his promises to us. Truth is we actually would feel much better when we manage to give ourselves more and more to him, when we are unstinting in our self-giving. It’s a mysterious phenomenon that can only be explained by our faith. It is indeed a spiritual and supernatural phenomenon.

We have to learn to let go of our possessions, our preferences, our opinions, etc., until we can say that we are letting go of our whole selves so as to give everything to God.

This is what generosity is all about. Instead of feeling emptied, we feel filled with peace and joy. No earthly happening can add or diminish that peace and joy. It’s a peace and joy that can only be an effect of having God with us. As St. Teresa once said, “Solo Dios basta,” with God we have enough.

Every day, we should be able to say that we are giving up something, we are conquering more area of self-giving. This giving up and self-conquest should have the consequence of gaining more peace and joy, a true sign that we are having God more and more in us.

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