Sunday 19th April 2015

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

What Can We Truly Give To God?

December 17, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Gifts, gifts, and more gifts — that is the essence of the secular “Holiday” season. Christmas gifts — now that is an entirely different story. All things in our lives should be considered from a Catholic perspective. What is the ultimate gift that God has given to us? What is the only gift that we can give to God? What is a gift? What is it that makes a gift worthwhile? Even when it is past the time of giving gifts for Christmas Day, it is not past the time for considering the gifts we may yet give on a continuing basis.
A gift involves an “alienation or giving up of the first owner’s right, and acceptance or the beginning of the new owner’s right” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 229, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ). Essentially, we surrender something to another willingly when we give a gift. What makes the gift worthwhile is that a gift is generally given freely without expecting anything in return. It is given as an act of love toward the purpose of bringing joy to the one receiving the gift. Sometimes the gift is small or inexpensive, but worth much spiritually.
It is easy to buy something and give it to another. It is much more difficult for us to give of ourselves, to give sacrificially rather than financially. When the giver buys something that he or she knows the recipient will enjoy, rather than giving something that he himself would enjoy, the results will be more rewarding.
When someone gives the gift and relinquishes ownership, he no longer has rights and therefore cannot control what is done with the gift. Sometimes this may be painful as when the gift is not appreciated. If we consider that God so loved the world, that He has given us His only-begotten Son, would it not offend Him who has given so freely if we ignore that which was given? At Christmas, we received the Baby Jesus. What greater gift is there?
Receiving a gift also deserves consideration. One should be thankful more for the thought than for the gift. The thought behind a worthwhile gift would be love. One receiving the gift would then be thankful and show the appreciation for the thought behind the gift, even if it is not something which one had hoped to receive.

God’s Gift to Man

St. John the Evangelist wrote one of the most widely known verses in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that those who believe in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (John 3:16). Jesus gave up His rights of ownership. He humbled His divinity to become man that we may be with Him in Heaven. “Everyone else who was ever born into the world, came into it to live; our Lord came into it to die” (Calvary and the Mass, p. 4, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen). Our Lord came into the world as a vulnerable baby, lovable in His littleness. He came to us on Christmas to die on the cross for our sins that we may live in eternity.
Witnessing such an act of love, the heavens burst into song. Even the angels come to earth to sing of such passion: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill” (Luke 2:14).
God has given His only Son, Jesus. By this act, He has shown us the way to joy, the way to peace. He did not do this that He may be glorified so much as He did it so man may be lifted up and know the joy of giving glory to God. The lowly shepherds were brought to the crib by the angels. Their humility had earned them spiritual buoyancy. These men who sought to do the will of God were blessed with peace of mind and peace of soul. They had nothing to give but themselves by paying homage to the King of Kings.
While the gift of Christmas is Christ, there is another gift we also would do well to recall. God gave to each of us the gift of life both temporal and eternal. He has given us everything we have and are. Our family and friends, our colleagues and possessions have all been given to us by God. To fully appreciate these gifts, we must be sure to reflect on all creatures and the way we should make use of them.

Man’s Gift To God

After the shepherds paid their homage to Jesus, the three wise men came to worship the Son of Mary. “He will now call wisdom to the crib, as He has but lately called simplicity” (Bethlehem, Fr. Frederick William Faber, p. 184). The men who studied their prophecies and followed the star from the East came searching for the King of Kings, “Men whose science led them to God” (Faber, p. 183). These men bearing gifts of frankincense in honor of the divine, gold for the king, and myrrh to the man who would be crucified would go away contented, knowing they had done God’s will. Once again, doing God’s will brought joy and peace to “men of goodwill.”
What do we bring to the crib of Jesus? Are we men of goodwill? There are many ways of bringing gifts to the Baby Jesus. We can give to the poor, the lonely, and the hungry. We can comfort the sorrowful or instruct the ignorant. In short we can practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy as a special gift to Jesus. “And answering the king will say to them, ‘Amen I say to you, as long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me’” (Matt. 25:40).
In other words, we can give gifts of material need or we can give money to charity which is all well and good. However, are we not really just giving back to God that which He has given to us? Can He not give and the next day, take it away?
So what is it that we can truly give to God that He cannot, or better, will not take from us? The only thing we can give to God that He cannot give to Himself is our own free will. This point is worth hours of careful reflection, especially during this holy season of Christmas.
During one of his lectures to the laity, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, speaking of charitable evangelization, said, “Not even God will force the human will.” I remember well the look on his face. He was so very serious and then he repeated, “Not even God will force the human will.” We must give freely.

Spiraling Rewards

The more we sacrifice, the more God will bless us. The Rules of Charity in St. Luke’s Gospel tell us: “Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they pour into your lap” (Luke 6:38). God cannot be outdone in generosity. The little we give to Him, He will repay a hundredfold. When we respond promptly and willingly to the urgings of the Holy Spirit to serve Christ in the poor and downtrodden, He will repay us not only in the next life but in this life as well. There is joy in sacrifice. There is contentment in temperance.
As we sacrifice and become more detached from our possessions, God gives us a spiritual serenity that cannot be described. Our lives become more peaceful, our faith deepens, our hope becomes more firm and, above all, our love becomes greater. The secret to giving back to God is giving our will to Him do with as He wishes. As St. Ignatius wrote in his prayer commonly referred to as the Suscipe, “Receive, O Lord, all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold you have given me; I give it all back to you and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.”
The more we give to Christ, the more it costs us in terms of giving up our treasures, talent, or time for His work, the more grace we will receive. The more grace we receive, the more we will be able to give, and thus the more we will receive, overflowing into eternity.
Help us, O Lord, in the coming year, to practice routinely the gift of giving back to you by serving others. Volunteering to care for the elderly, feeding the poor, instructing the ignorant, and comforting the discouraged can be practices we do every week or month. God will reward you. “I surrender it all to you, O Lord.” Amen.
May you have a Blessed Christmas and a Holy New Year, “Rich enough.”

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 2

Attention!

Our On-line Store is currently experiencing problems. If you are ordering a print edition of The Wanderer 

CLICK HERE!

ISIL video purports to show killing of Ethiopian Christians

A video purporting to show the killing of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Libya has been released online. The 29-minute video appears to show militants holding two groups of captives, one by an affiliate in eastern Libya known…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Responds to Recent Criticisms

In an Italian-language interview, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said, ‘I am not against the Pope; I have never spoken out against the Pope. … My purpose is to serve the truth.’ Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke,…Continue Reading

‘Prominent’ Catholics attacking Archbishop Cordileone are big donors to Pelosi and pro-abort Democra

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Big donors to the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi are among those publicly harassing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for protecting Catholic identity in the area’s Catholic high schools. A big-ticket…Continue Reading

American Sisters accept Vatican reforms on doctrine, theology

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2015 / 04:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a joint report marking the conclusion of a multi-year mandate for reform, members of the LCWR have agreed to corrections called for by the Vatican, and said they will…Continue Reading

Cardinal George, archbishop emeritus of Chicago, dies at 78

DEVELOPING: Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago from 1997 to 2014, died Friday at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer, the Archdiocese of Chicago has confirmed.

We Must Pray For And Defend This Good Bishop

bishopcord

I call on all the readers here to pray and offer fasting and alms for the spiritual defense of Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco. Will San Francisco be the Alamo of the Church in these USA? Today, in the ultra-liberal…Continue Reading

Prominent Catholics call on pope to oust S.F. archbishop

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members signed a full-page ad running Thursday in The Chronicle that calls on Pope Francis to replace San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of…Continue Reading

This teacher cannot sue the Catholic Church for firing him because he openly rejects Catholic teachings: Legal experts

OMAHA, NE, April 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Legal experts agree that, if you openly flout Christian teachings, you have no right to sue a religious school for firing you – in most instances. That analysis comes after a sexually active…Continue Reading

PETITION TO POPE FRANCIS: Declare St. John Paul II “Doctor of the Church”!

johnpaul

I, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, do hereby petition our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to declare St. John Paul II Doctor of the Church. I ask that St. John Paul II, who instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, be declared Doctor of…Continue Reading

Cardinal Brandmüller: Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on marriage are ‘heretics’ – even if they are bishops

April 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has been among the leading voices critical of proposals stemming from the Vatican’s Synod on the Family that risk subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality. He was one of five…Continue Reading

Obama administration: Catholic school upholding marriage is ‘sex discrimination’

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — The Obama administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has found “reasonable cause” to rule that a Catholic prep school has unlawfully discriminated against a homosexual band director formerly in the school’s employ. Mount…Continue Reading

God or Nothing

ROME, April 10, 2015 – He has said so himself, with candor: “I have the feeling that God has put me here for a short time.” Four or five years, or even less. It is natural that this disclosure of…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope appeals to the world to act to avoid more tragedies of migrants

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed to the international community to take swift and decisive action to avoid more tragedies of migrants seeking a better life. His heartfelt cry to the world came following news of the sinking of yet another boat carrying migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in which it is feared 700 people may be dead. The Pope was speaking on Sunday morning after the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square, where he…Continue Reading

May His Soul Rest In Peace . . .

george

Pope Francis: Christian humility is not masochism, but love

Vatican Radio) Humiliation for its own sake is masochism, but when it is suffered and endured in the name of the Gospel it makes us like Jesus. That was what Pope Francis said in his homily at the Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he invited Christians to never cultivate sentiments of hatred, but to give themselves time to discover within themselves sentiments and attitudes that are pleasing to God: love and dialogue.   Is…Continue Reading

Pope Francis to visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay

(Vatican Radio)  A communique from the Holy See’s Press office on Thursday announced that Pope Francis will make an apostolic visit to three Latin American countries in early July. It said following invitations from the respective heads of state and the Catholic Bishops, the Pope will be in Ecuador from the 6-8th, Bolivia from the 8th- 10th  and Paraguay from the 10th-12th. Full details of the programme for the visit will be published at a…Continue Reading

Cardinal Brandmüller Says . . . Advocates For Changing Church Teaching On Marriage Are Heretics

By MAIKE HICKSON (LifeSiteNews) — Walter Cardinal Brandmüller has been among the leading voices critical of proposals stemming from the Synod on the Family that risk subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality. He was one of five cardinals who contributed to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which focused on criticizing…Continue Reading

Income Inequality: Married Couples With Kids Make Average Of $107,054

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + If American politicians wanted to drive down the income of the American people and make this a poorer nation — and they actually studied the government’s own data…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . The Artful Ploys Of The Noonday Demon

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Time, by Jean-Charles Nault, OSB (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2015), 203 pp. $16.95. Available through www.ignatiuspress.com. Some temptations are bold and brazen in their seduction, and some are subtle and artful. While the temptations of the flesh disorder the appetites and produce uncontrollable…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Can We Use Our Consciences On Contraception?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Surveys in many countries consistently show that most Catholics believe that decisions of conscience about…Continue Reading

Protecting Freedom Of Religion

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University. (ZENIT made Fr. Flynn’s essay available; all rights reserved.) + + + Great Britain’s Equality and…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Did Jesus Christ Found A Church? If He Did, How Can She Be Identified?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 In the previous article we saw that Jesus gave to the apostles the royal ministry, that is, the power to exercise authority over the people in His Church, to shepherd over, to rule over, and even to judge them. He also gave to the apostles the prophetic ministry, to be the teachers of…Continue Reading

The Church’s Origin, Foundation, And Mission

By DON FIER Sacred Scripture reveals a rich and diverse tapestry of images to describe the Church. Each of these symbols enables one with faith to gain additional insights into the various complementary aspects which are present in this great mystery which the Fathers of Vatican Council II refer to as the “universal sacrament of salvation” (Lumen Gentium, n. 48…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In the second reading on Good Friday (Heb. 5:8-9), there is a phrase toward the end of the epistle that says: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” I am puzzled by the words “when he was…Continue Reading

The Good Shepherd

BY FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 4:8-12 1 John 3:1-2 John 10:11-18   In the Gospel reading today we hear our Lord telling us that He is the Good Shepherd. We have all heard this many times and, in our minds, we have our own notions of what that means. We can think about…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Siena

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Catherine of Siena lived in the 14th century, a century of great upheaval and confusion in the Church. The Church celebrates her feast on April 29. She not only was a great saint, but her writings and her example were so extraordinary that she is one of the few persons who have been given the title…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anselm

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anselm was born in France near the Swiss Alps around 1033. At the age of 15, he wished to enter religious life by joining a monastery. Sadly, his influential father was so against it that the monastery refused to accept him. This so discouraged the youth that he drowned his sorrows in worldly pursuits. He deeply…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Marguerite D’Youville

By CAROLE BRESLIN By 1701 the European colonies in North America had expanded beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Anglo population in the English American colonies had reached 275,000. The French had recently established a colony in Detroit. Catholics, however, were persecuted as Massachusetts passed a law ordering all Roman Catholic priests to leave or face execution. New York passed a…Continue Reading