Monday 31st August 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 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Russians to construct ‘the tallest statue of Jesus Christ in the world’

Towering 80 meters monument to ‘Christ the Teacher’ by Zurab Tsereteli to find home in Vladivostok, Christian Telegraph reports according to RISU. The statue was cast in 2013 by Tsereteli, the famous Georgian-Russian sculptor, known for his gigantic projects such…Continue Reading

If You Still Support Planned Parenthood, You Are Simply Not A Decent Person

Another Planned Parenthood video has been released. I promised I would write about every new video that comes out, so here is my write up on the latest. Please read and share. I don’t usually ask you to share things…Continue Reading

“Catholic” Group Sends Cakes to Thank Planned Parenthood Staff After It Sells Aborted Babies

Apparently, Catholics for Choice want their friends at Planned Parenthood to know how appreciated they are since they will be “harassed” tomorrow at the protests across the country regarding their organ harvesting business.  As LifeNews previously reported, tens of thousands…Continue Reading

Facebook’s very (very) suspicious ‘trending’ Planned Parenthood story

Update Aug. 20, ’15 at 7:54 AM EST: I woke up this morning, and lo and behold, the “trending” news topic had changed. It now reads, “7th video critical of organization released by anti-abortion group.” That’s more like it. I…Continue Reading

Questions raised after pro-life activist Twitter accounts suspended without warning: one now restored

ONTARIO, August 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life activist campaigning against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s abortion extremism as well as a pro-life organization on a mission to show the violent reality of abortion through large graphic billboards had their Twitter…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone thankful for San Francisco teacher contract agreement

San Francisco, Calif., Aug 23, 2015 / 06:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Efforts to promote Catholic culture in the San Francisco archdiocese’s high schools and to agree on a contract acceptable for the schools’ teachers concluded on Wednesday with a new…Continue Reading

Catholic Priests’ Forgotten Flock: Catholic Men

The New Emangelization Project has documented that a key driver of the collapse of Catholicism in the U. S. is a serious and growing Catholic “man-crisis”.[1] One third of baptized Catholic men have left the faith and the majority of…Continue Reading

Shortages in Venezuela mean priests are running out of Hosts

Caracas, Venezuela, Aug 15, 2015 / 03:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis has hit the Church in a unique way: the production of Hosts fell 60 percent during the past month, affecting three states in the South American…Continue Reading

Do We really need a new day dedicated to the environment?

The Pope has decided in the wake of his well received encyclical on the environment to institute a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. This day will take place on 1st September. At present the 1st September…Continue Reading

There is no equivalence

Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning. On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst. There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very…Continue Reading

Syrian Bishop: on kidnapping of Christians from Qaryatain

(Vatican Radio) The Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo in Syria, Antoine Audo says he believes the so-called Islamic State fighters are seeking to push Christians out of Syria and spread terror everywhere. He also warned that if the war continues, as…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cupich will attend synod, Vatican source says

Vatican City, Aug 7, 2015 / 12:35 pm (CNA).- Originally selected as an alternate synod delegate, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago will in fact be an attendee at the Vatican gathering on the family this fall, a Vatican source told…Continue Reading

Newsmax

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 su
bscribe 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 Francis: Angelus appeals for persecuted Christians, migrants

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued a twofold appeal on Sunday: for persecuted Christians and for all persons forced to flee their homes in search of a peaceful and secure existence in foreign lands. Recalling the beatification on Saturday in Harissa, Lebanon, of the martyred Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī, Eparch of Gazarta – or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, who was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo or “putting to the sword” of…Continue Reading

Pope Didn’t Bless ‘Gender Theory’ Children’s Books

pope725

Holy See Denies Any Papal Endorsement of Children’s Books Promoting Same-Sex Relationship Italy, August 28, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Luca Marcolivio Once again Pope Francis is being “used” by those in favor of promoting the same-sex lifestyle. The latest case arose this morning following news of a letter sent by an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State to the author of children’s books that promote “different family types.” The Guardian reported the letter with the headline,…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Recalls Feast of St. Monica

Vatican City, August 27, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has recalled the feast day of Saint Monica, mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Toward the conclusion of Wednesday’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square in his remarks to Italian-speaking pilgrims, Pope Francis recalled that today, August 27, is the feast day of St. Monica. To the intercession of her and her son, Francis said, “We entrust newlyweds and Christian parents so that, like…Continue Reading

Lex Cordis Caritas – The law of the heart is Love

God’s greatest and most beloved treasure is human life by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki The Bible points us to the truth of what lies at the heart of every moral teaching of Jesus Christ and his church. In the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, we hear him warn the people to “[w]atch carefully how you live” (Ephesians 5:15). He does this not because he wants to control their lives, dictating what they can…Continue Reading

Syrian Apocalypse

By JOHN J. METZLER UNITED NATIONS— Syria continues to descend into the inferno while the international community stands transfixed. A political solution seems elusive as ever, the civil war grinds on having killed over 250,000 people, and more than twelve million people have fled their homeland. Alarmed by these developments, the UN Security Council has…Continue Reading

One Catholic Congressman … Prepping For The Pope’s U.S. Visit

By MATT HADRO WASHINTON, D.C. (CNA)— As the nation’s capital works to get ready for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. this fall, one Catholic congressman is preparing by reading papal encyclicals. “I say as a Catholic, I’m pretty excited,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.) told CNA of the upcoming papal visit. He added that…Continue Reading

ACLU: Force Catholic Hospitals To Abandon Catholic Faith

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The woefully misnamed American Civil Liberties Union is launching a crusade to force Catholic hospitals to act against Catholic moral teachings and the natural law. This is an un-American attack on religious liberty. The ACLU’s intentions came to light this week after it threatened to sue Mercy Medical Center in Redding,…Continue Reading

Kenneth D. Whitehead, RIP . . . A Personal Tribute To An Outstanding Layman

By JAMES LIKOUDIS Last April, the Church in the United States lost to cancer one of its most dedicated and well-informed laymen. His life was dedicated to defending the faith from the major errors that have afflicted the Church in the postconciliar period. I had the great privilege of working with Ken Whitehead when for…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Same-Sex “Marriage” And The Crisis Of Leadership

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bi-monthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

An Apologetics Course… The Man Jesus — Humanity At Its Perfection

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 17 What was Jesus like, as a Man? We know about His divinity, we believe in it, but what was He like in His daily life with people in general? We call this topic investigating the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or, more simply, Jesus the Man. In an obscure province of…Continue Reading

The Episcopal College And The Pope

By DON FIER When Jesus founded the Church, as we saw last week, “He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 874). With the overarching objective to ensure that the ministry He introduced during His time on earth would be carried forward until the end of time, Christ organized her along hierarchical…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. The Supreme Court has a history of immoral decisions, such as declaring black slaves as property, permitting credit card companies to charge usurious interest rates, allowing the public sale of contraceptives, okaying the killing of unborn babies, and approving sodomy. What’s next? Polygamy? Incestuous “marriage”? Person-animal “marriage”? It would appear that we are on a par with Sodom of…Continue Reading

A Blindness In The Heart

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 35:4-7a James 2:1-5 Mark 7:31-37 In the first reading God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah telling the people that those whose hearts are frightened should be strong and not afraid because God is with them. He then says that on that day the eyes of the blind…Continue Reading

Novena To Our Lady Of Knock . . . The Family Is Reason To Give Thanks

By MOST REV. KEVIN DORAN KNOCK, Ireland (ZENIT) — Here is the homily given Sunday, August 16 by Bishop Kevin Doran for the 2015 National Novena to Our Lady of Knock, which lasted through August 22. The theme was “Always and Everywhere Giving Thanks — The Gift of the Family.” Bishop Doran heads the Diocese of Elphin, Ireland. ZENIT News…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Aidan

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Church names many saints as patrons of certain professions, troubles, or countries. St. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. As the father of Western monasticism, he is credited with building Western civilization. St. Catherine of Siena is also a patron of Europe since she played important roles in settling both civil and ecclesiastical disputes. St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bernard Of Clairvaux

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Gospel of John, during the Last Discourse at the Last Supper, our Lord prays for unity. Jesus said: “that they may be one even as we are” (John 17:11). During the most challenging times of Church history, God has sent men to restore peace to His Church. Certainly St. Bernard of Clairvaux should be counted…Continue Reading