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Generosity Starts with the Heart

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And looking on, he saw the rich men cast their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in two brass mites. And he said: Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her want, hath cast in all the living that she had. – Luke 21:1-4, Douay-Rheims

Valerie clutched her last five dollars tightly in her sweaty palms. Since being widowed a year ago, every dollar went toward keeping food on the table for her growing sons. She worked two jobs and each night, she crawled into bed exhausted.

She could hold onto her last bit of cash but she thought of her parish’s homeless fund. “There are others out there with even less,” Valerie reminded herself as she dropped the money into the offering box in her parish vestibule.

A similar situation happened one day when Jesus was visiting the temple in Jerusalem. Many gave with much fanfare, drawing attention to their extravagant gifts. They were seeking acknowledgement and praise from those around them.

But their gifts didn’t impress the Messiah at all. Instead, He highlighted a widow who had thrown in two coins. Though she was poor and could use the money for her own household, she gave generously to others.

This story illustrates a simple truth about Jesus: The size of your gift doesn’t matter. What matters is the intention behind the gift. When you give from your heart, Jesus is delighted with your offering whether it’s big or small. That’s because a true gift – one born of love – is a gift of yourself. Pope John Paul II taught us that man comes to truly know himself only by offering himself as a gift to others. We are made for love.

Reflection Questions: What gift have you given that you felt represented the best gift of yourself? What was the effect of that gift on the other person? What was the effect of giving that gift on you?
God, please let me be a generous giver. Let me give—not to receive praise or recognition—but from a sincere desire to honor You.
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