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 The Joy of Giving

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doncece43
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PostSubject: The Joy of Giving   Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:54 pm

This is a talk I shared with my parish. The joy of giving.

I want you to think back to a time when you made a difference in someone’s life: It may have been mowing the lawn for someone too frail to do it himself? Taking care of a friend or neighbor’s children to give mom a break? Carrying groceries for an older person? Taking a Christmas food basket to someone in need? Everyone has the power to change the lives of others. How did helping someone else make you feel? It’s a good feeling to be needed, to help someone else?

My wife, Nancy, and I experience that good feeling when we help to provide hot meals for those who come to St. Anthony’s Community Café. To see hope return where despair once had its grip or feel the good vibes when a family enjoys a few moments of togetherness is satisfying for us and for the person receiving the hot meal.

Volunteering at St Vincent de Paul food pantry helping clients fill their boxes with food and cleaning products brings more joy knowing that families who are struggling to make ends meet in today’s economy will have a little relief from that struggle.

Happy are my hours spent with the homeless men and women at our Severe Weather Shelter by getting to know them better through conversation, playing card games, or dominos with them.

Over the years I have learned that people who need help appreciate kindness and respect as much as the food, clothing, shelter, or hot meals we provide.

Simply put our satisfaction and joy comes from doing things we know to be right and need to be done. I do what I do not because I have to, but rather because I enjoy doing it. Serving others provides us an opportunity to serve the Lord.

The church teaches that love (also called charity) is the very heart of Christianity. The heart is where it begins if we are to grow and be fruitful as Christians.

We all have a desire to help others and we do it in our own special way. Your way may be getting involved with children who have special needs, or becoming a volunteer with groups like St Vincent de Paul, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters or joining us at the Community Cafe to help serve meals. There are many good programs in need of volunteers. Jesus would say, the needs are many, but the workers are few.

God may place in your heart a desire to get involved with our elderly who may need help with grocery shopping or catching a ride to Church or a doctor’s appointment. Maybe you’re a good listener and can spend time visiting a person who is living alone and wishing for nothing more than to share daily concerns with someone who cares. You may know someone who is struggling and you can reach out and show compassion for what they’re experiencing.

Like Jesus we must look for ways to be helpful in relieving hardship and stress in people’s lives. Your acts of kindness may come at just the right time, when needed most in someone’s life.

Charity is the life of love. To be charitable is what God wants from all Christians. God is not looking for ability He is looking for availability. What makes a good person is not a fine mind, but a kind heart, not the ability to think, but the ability to love. Dorothy Day, founder of The Catholic Worker newspaper, said, “The amount of love we have for Jesus is the amount of love we have for the one we love the least.” Dorothy is saying that the amount of love we have for the unlovable homeless person or the ragged beggar holding his sign on a street corner is the amount of love we have for Jesus.

St. Vincent de Paul said, “Extend mercy to others; there should be no one in need whom you meet that you do not want to help. For what hope is there for us if God should withdraw His mercy from us.

Extending love to others also applies to our coworkers, classmates, members of our family, and neighbors. Blessings come to those who can love all people equally. A charitable mind is not displayed simply in giving money; it is manifested still more by personal service to others. Whatever we choose--giving money or personal service--love must be the driving force. Love becomes our strength for all the work we have to do. It is love that can give us the power of self-sacrifice and make us ready to live a life of service. It is love that gives us the patience that refuses to give up. It is love that reaches and overcomes that which seems the most hopeless, both in us and in others. Your acts of charity will become examples for your family and friends to follow. Never tell someone to wait until tomorrow if you can help them today. Jesus said the kind act of giving someone a drink of water will not go unnoticed. Whatever work you do for God, pray for His loving grace to help you accomplish His work.

Keep a watchful eye and look for opportunities to do good works, hear the cries of the oppressed. It is by seeing with our eyes that we are moved into action; it is by hearing their stories that we are moved with compassion to help. By the grace of God, we can make a difference in our little corners of the world. His grace begins a process of change inside us, a change that will transform us into pro-active disciples. His grace is given freely and sustains us when we answer His call to serve others with unconditional love.

Today I am challenging you in the same way I was challenged many years ago. I’m asking you to step out of your comfort zone and prepare yourself to meet the needs of others. A question I had to ask myself was, “If not me, who?” In one of the songs we sing during our Church service, Jesus asks a question of all Christians: “Whom shall I send?” Our response must be, “Here I am Lord, I will go, Lord, I will hold your people in my heart.”

Never be lax in your zeal to be a servant to others. What you do may seem to have little value to you, but to someone else it may mean almost everything. Your knowledge of God will increase as you become more receptive in faith, love, and the willingness to serve Him by helping others.

We can’t fix all that is wrong in this world, but we need to do what we can, and rely on God to do what we can’t. We are partners with God. We have our part and God has His part. We cannot do His part and He will not do our part.

Now is your time to make a difference in someone’s life. Step out and show your love and compassion. You have a candle in your soul, so go to the darkness where people need your help and light up their world. May God bless you for all that you will do!

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Lora
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PostSubject: Re: The Joy of Giving   Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:29 pm

This is a nice reminder of how we should be behaving as Christians and shining our light for the Lord. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves and our daily lives, we fail to see the others around us. Nice sermon, doncece43.

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