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THE VIRTUE OF GIVING
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Posted by: reviewassessor, on 12/17/2008, in category "The Virtue of Giving"
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Location: New York, New York, United States
Abstract: This essay by Julie C. Myladoor won the first prize in the essay competition conducted by the Youth Group and the Finance Committee. Our hope is that one day, all people will be united by a common cause to serve others and extirpate iniquity for all humankind. But it is up to us to bring about this hope and make it a reality, so that all may know that we are Christians, united in service to others.

"To share often and much. . . To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Christians experience a great many occasions to live as serving disciples of Christ. The Roman Catholic rite of Mass has the priest say at the culmination of the service, "Let us go in peace and love to serve the Lord and each other." Thus, it is fitting to conclude that as Christians, we are to serve not only God, but the whole Body of Christ, the Church. But in actuality, do we really take the time and exertion to give back to the community and Church that God so circumspectly made with His own hands? Unfortunately, we may have all the faith and devotion in the world and hear those words, but in the end, we do not live by them. God gives us the theological virtue of giving to facilitate our relationship with Him. We are called to be magnanimous Christians who live out this high caliber so as to further God's kingdom on earth. The need to give to others and God is continuously played out, even when we may not become conscious of it. The love of God is in everyone and everything, yet it is up to us to seek it out. The hub of Jesus's teaching of giving is love. "This is my Commandment; love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). It is important for us to realize that even if we love God genuinely and to the nadir of our hearts, our love is futile without love of those around us. Hence, we have to be able to love others to give to others.

We ought to be ready to be models of rectitude, prone to the challenges of the day but prepared to provide for the needs of all people. Needs come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations; they are a mosaic and mixed bag of various desires and wants of those around. This montage is found everywhere: in the distressed face of a beggar on the street, in the forlorn girl longing for a friend, even in the wooden collection box at church; it requires courage and nobility of the heart and mind to recognize these needs and the translucent presence of God in them. Still, if we are able to become conscious of them, giving and caring for others will become natural to us, and we will be able to come across numerous other ways to give to people. Indeed, giving itself comes in a medley as well; there are so many manners by which we could serve those around us, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Volunteering our time and effortselflessly or giving up something in order to help others all fall under the same category:giving. Most people fall erroneous when they believe that catering to the needy is just"giving money to the poor, donating clothes to the Salvation Army, or contributing food to a food drive. Of course it is not fallacious to give to these people, yet, caring can come in unexpected ways. Spending some time with a lonely person, reading to a blind neighbor,helping a sibling with homework; we have to be able to uncover unusual and hidden ways of giving. Monetary generosity and giving to our parish is yet another way to givet o others. Our own parish is in need of money, yet the unfortunate fact is that most people do not care. As parishioners, we must understand that the money we give to our building fund is not going to a dreadful cause. Not one person is going to take our money and use it for their own wishes; rather we are all one loving community in Christ, we are giving our own financial resources, along with our love for others and God, to the building of a better church, a church we could call our own, a church where we could worship God freely. We are all called by God to be a philanthropic community, benevolent people who are ready to care for the needs of others and the Church.

God calls us to serve others as loving Christians, giving but not expecting back. As God's followers we are called to be models of altruism and selflessness in our giving. Certain people are sanctimonious; they feign giving when they really desire the awards behind the giving. Although we may not receive a material gain or a physical endowment in return, the true value of giving comes in the gifts we obtain in our minds and hearts. One of the most beneficial rewards of giving to others is the feeling of personal satisfaction which we receive. Everyone desires to leave a mark in this world through caring for the needy, underprivileged, and those in our society who are in fraught need of our help. People learn how to work as one community in Christ, and learn more about others, themselves, and their faith. As Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth." (Matthew 5: 13) Will we be salt that loses its taste, or will we strive to burgeon our taste by giving to others? A Christian tradition sends individuals into this world with a message to deliver, a song to sing, and an act of love to bestow. It's critical for us to consider that we are an element of this plan. God wants us to deliver our message, sing our song, and warm and ameliorate this world with our love. Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Our hope is that one day, all people will be united by a common cause to serve others and extirpate iniquity for all humankind. But it is up to us to bring about this hope and make it a reality, so that all may know that we are Christians, united in service to others.

By

Julie C. Myladoor.


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