When I think about generosity, a word which dictionary.com defines as “freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character,” I have a picture of an open hand in my mind. Anyone can take out of that open hand, and anyone can give to it, but nobody, accept the owner of the hand, can close it. If it is closed, nobody can take anything from it, but no one can give to it either.
Journalist, social activist and founder of the Catholic Worker movement Dorothy Day said that the principle of generosity always works. In the words of St. John of the Cross, she writes:
“If we are rushed for time, sow time and we will reap time. Go to church and spend a quiet hour in prayer. You will have more time than ever and your work will get done. Sow time with the poor. Sit and listen to them, give them your time lavishly. You will reap time a hundredfold. Sow kindness and you will reap kindness. Sow love, you will reap love. Where there is no love, if you put love, you will take out love.” (Day)
Hearing stories of people receiving answers to prayer, or even receiving what they did not pray for, have encouraged me to pray dangerously. Some time ago, and several times since then, I prayed, “God, if there is something that I have that I should not have, take it. If I covet certain things more than you, take them. If I am filling myself up with junk, empty me.” I am not sure if this prayer was a true one because of the presence of the conditional word “if.” But the Lord listened to it nonetheless and has answered it.
Since I prayed that prayer last summer, I have moved into a basement suite with no cable, so I am not able to fill my mind and heart with all that the media gives as often as I may want to. I had moved in to join my friend, who lived in a suite where the rent was higher than where I had been staying before. In addition, my principal at work would cut my hours in half when I returned to school a month later, forcing me to rely on the grace, compassion and generosity of others to make ends meet.
Soon after going back to school, I miss-placed my wallet and, for a little while, was resolved to the fact that I would not be able to satisfy myself in certain ways until I found it. Though I found it a week later, I have now tried to make it a practice to keep my spending to a minimum and, as my roommate and I recently practiced praying for our daily routine, I hope to continue to pray for my daily spending so that generosity may be the result.
Can Generosity make ends meet? Well, I’m banking on it!
This is amazing and I didn't know any of it. You are inspiring to me.
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