As one who is not overly enamored of the workings of internet technology, I must admit that I appreciate my findings more and more when I go surfing in the morning. Today I typed in the word generosity and found a lovely short paragraph from the University of Notre Dame that expresses what I think is inherent in all the lectionary readings for this date, celebrating the feast of St. Lawrence.
Generosity also involves giving to others not simply anything in abundance but rather giving those things that are good for others. Generosity always intends to enhance the true well-being of those to whom it gives.
The legends surrounding the life and death of St. Lawrence bear witness to this truth. Lawrence was a deacon in Rome in the third century serving Pope Sixtus II in a time of great persecution. Knowing he was likely to be arrested and martyred for his faith – as was the Pope – Lawrence, who was charged with responsibility for the material goods of the Church, began distributing all the money and selling even the sacred vessels to give to the poor. When the Roman official heard of this, he ordered Lawrence to bring him all the treasures of the Church saying that the emperor needed them to maintain the military forces. Lawrence agreed and gathered all the poor and infirm, orphans and widows…all the poor in any way, and lined them up. When the government official arrived to claim the riches, Lawrence said, “These are the treasures of the Church.”
That story calls me to consider what I see as “treasure” and how generous I am in my living. Whether we are materially rich or poor we all have gifts to give. Where do your gifts lie? Are you willing to open your hands and your heart to others in need? Are you willing to receive the generosity of others? The readings suggest, as does a song of long ago, that “God loves a cheerful giver.” May we all know the joys of generosity!