Give without expecting any return

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

CHRIST somehow makes us to understand that we have to learn to give ourselves to others without expecting any return by telling a host who invited him to invite those who would be unable to return the invitation. (cfr. Lk 14,12-14)

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,” he said, “do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relative or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

It’s not that we should not care for our friends and relatives, since Christ told us to love everyone. But we should give special or preferential treatment to those who are in greater need, for this would clearly show the kind of charity we are living, the charity that would merit to “be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

In this regard, we have to exert special effort because given our wounded human condition, prone to fall into self-indulgence and the like, we always tend to invite and to deal only with those who can give us some worldly honor, glory and pleasure. And we can do this in a most subtle ways by appearing as if we are being very magnanimous when, in fact, we are indulging on our pride, vanity and conceit.

To be able to live by this indication, we should make sure that whatever we do should be done with utmost rectitude of intention. That means that everything should be done for the glory of God. As a Latin maxim would put it, “Deo omnis gloria!”

St. Paul expressed it this way: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10,31) Such motive never undermines our true joy. On the contrary, it heightens our joy and sense of fulfilment, and affirms our true dignity. We have to be wary of the deceptive thought that giving glory to God in all that we do detracts from our true joy.

We have to give all the glory to God because being the Creator, God is the standard for everything. And more than the standard, he is, in fact, the very substance of what is good, true and beautiful, what is fair and just, what is perfection itself.

Nothing is good, true and beautiful, nothing is fair and just, nothing is perfect if it is not done with God and for God. In short, we need to refer all our acts to God. We have to make this affirmation very clear in our mind and do everything to make that ideal a reality.

And so, a lot depends on our intention, because our intention is the very expression of who and where in the end we want to be. Do we choose God, or do we simply choose ourselves, or the world, in general? It’s actually a choice between good and evil.

We need to realize then that we have to take care of our intention, making it as explicit as possible, and honing it to get engaged with its proper and ultimate object who is God. We should try our best to shun being simply casual or cavalier about this responsibility.