Freely given, freely give

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“AS you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Mt 10,7-8)

Words of Christ addressed to his apostles and addressed to us also. They are a call to give ourselves completely to carry out the continuing mission of Christ which is the salvation of everyone.

This mission will definitely require everything from us. But neither should we forget that everything has also been given to us. To be sure, Christ does not ask of us something that he himself would not enable us to do.

It’s a truth of our faith that we should vividly remember always, especially when we feel we are already at our limits in our self-giving to fulfill God’s will. God cannot be outdone in generosity. If we are generous with him and with others, the more generous will God be with us!

We need to develop a keen sense of generosity and self-giving that is also a result of detachment. Let’s never forget that whatever we have comes from God who wants us to work for him and with him, and for the common good. Thus, we hear St. Paul saying, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4,7)

Let’s remember that generosity can only be achieved if there is love. Love and generosity cannot be separated. It’s in the very essence of love to give oneself without measure, without calculation, without expecting any return. It just gives and gives, even if along the way it encounters difficulties, rejection, suffering. It embraces them, not flee from them. By its nature, it is given gratuitously.

Yes, love engenders generosity and its relatives: magnanimity, magnificence, compassion, patience, pity, etc. This is the language of love, the currencies it uses. It thinks big, even if the matter involved is small according to human standards. In fact, it’s love that makes small, ordinary things big and special.

And the object of our love and of our generosity should first of all be God, and then because of God, everybody else. That’s because love for God cannot be separated from love for neighbor. It would be no love for God if it does not translate itself into love for everybody else.

It would be highly advisable that for us to learn how to love and how to be generous, we should meditate often on the life and example of Christ who gave himself all the way to offering his very own life on the cross in complete obedience to the will of the Father and in his all-out love for us.

Let’s hope that everytime we meditate on Christ’s life, we get inspired to follow his example, even if it is just a little thing everyday. At least, we can say that there is some growth in our love and generosity for God and for the others.

To be sure, what we seem to lose by giving ourselves to God and to others will actually gain us a hundredfold, as Christ himself assured us. He said: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt19,29)

What a great deal that would be!