“When you give, you should give generously from the heart….” (Romans 12:8)
The Holy Spirit gives us all different charisms to be used for the good of our neighbour. Some are called to teach, some to preach, some to evangelize, others to prophesy, yet others to provide care. All of these and many more are manifestations of the Spirit for the common good. (1Cor. 2:7) That’s the meaning of charism. But being endowed with charisms means nothing without love, and that’s where I sometimes fall short.
We’re told that when we give, we must give with simplicity. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa writes that simplicity (aplotes) can also mean largeness of heart or generousity. We should all be striving for simplicity. At least, I know I should, but I also know that all too often, I fail.
Sometimes I feel that if I have to help with one more math problem or listen to what happened in school today; if I have to sit through the latest saga of dating trouble; if I have to hear the rant about what happened at the office, I will crawl out of my skin.
Sometimes, I look at my full calendar and I think, “I really don’t want to visit any of these patients today. I don’t want to answer their questions, listen to their concerns, provide care.”
When I start feeling restless, resentful of my responsibilities, overwhelmed, over-stretched, impatient, selfishly withholding my time and presence, I know it’s time to regroup and recharge. I’ve wandered far away from my centre, my focus, my God. It’s time to find some quiet, restful time with the Lord and humbly beg, “be my strength. I can’t do this without You.” And it’s time to honour my body’s physical needs that are also God’s creations – rest and sleep.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Offer up my failings. Offer up my smallness of heart, my lack of simplicity, my absence of love. God can make good out of this too.