by Bill Maloney
We are a little past the halfway point of Lent. There is no better time to renew our Lenten commitments and examine what new habits we can carry forward once Lent has ended.
I am enjoying several of the daily Lenten meditations I receive by email each morning. One meditation that I have received for several years is Matthew Kelly’s Best Lent Ever.
This year, he is focusing on his book, “The Generosity Habit.” The theme I continue to hear over and over is that generosity is not all about money. Generosity is creative, beautiful, wise, hopeful and contagious.
The domino effect that generosity sets off reaches further than any of us can see. And I have witnessed many people in my life living wonderfully generous lives. Generosity is wonderfully contagious.
One simple example of this generosity I recently experienced was at a retreat for the stewardship and development offices for the dioceses of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.
David Baranowski, the director of stewardship for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, spoke of his practice of having small crucifixes in his pocket and giving them to people he meets.
What a beautiful way to be generous, evangelize and show the love of Christ to others.
Another friend told me how delighted he is to be back at his office and see everyone’s face again now that the masks are off. He said it is wonderful to see the smiles. The man who told me the story always has a smile to offer.
I can tell you that his generosity doesn’t end with his smile, and my guess is that his smile and kindness are probably the result of his endless generosity. From my experience, the most joyful people are the most generous.
A man at my parish, who I have been honored to know for a long time and have been on several Christ Renews His Parish teams together, exudes a contagious generosity. There is nothing he won’t help with and when he does, he does it with such joy and love.
Just a few weeks ago, I pulled into the parking lot and there he was. When I saw him, I felt at home and I felt the warmth of his greeting. Thanks, John.
My challenge to you for the remainder of this Lenten season and beyond is to grow in generosity. Compliment the work of a co-worker, give an elderly parent a strong hug, introduce yourself to someone you don’t recognize at your parish, fill up the gas tank for a child visiting from out of town, or buy some formula or diapers for a mom or dad you see shopping.
As Mother Teresa said, “Do something beautiful for God.”
Generosity is love. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these” (Mk 12:31).
Let us spend the remainder of Lent loving our neighbor generously and bringing more people to the light of Christ.
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