About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“The cemeteries are full of people who thought they were indispensable.”
— Fr. Alan Heet, OFM

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Day 57 The Challenge of Loving Generosity
published 14 February 2012 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

What you will read now is part of a series of 100 spiritual challenges. Each blog can be viewed separately, but for maximum benefit a reader needs to start with the introductory blog of November 18, 2011, and then continue step by step. Day One begins on Sunday, November 20, 2011.    [ Click here for 100 STEPS ]

Theme 9: Generosity

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. – (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Generosity is such a loving Christian trait! Some people make fun of people who give money but not time or personal ministry to the poor. Some of these same mockers live way beyond the simple and austere life-style recommended by the Church. This will be a later theme. For now, I think that since money is so precious to those of us in first world countries, giving money to the needy is an excellent form of generosity. Some say, well all those charities are frauds – half the money goes for salaries greater than what I make, etc. To this I always teach, choose a charity you trust. For me this is Missionaries of Charity run by nuns and brothers who don’t even feel entitled to toilet paper! And pro-life groups I know personally. And, of course, my parish Church, where I get the infinite value of the Holy Eucharist, so I need to support all that makes that possible in terms of money for the expenses of the rectory, sacristy, parish offices, heat, A/C, etc. etc.

Generally, the really poor do not have computers and would not be reading or listening to these teachings! However, I find that the poor are often the most generous in helping others. Consider the famous example Mother Teresa used to recount of herself bring rice to a starving family only to find that they divided it with others even more starving!

But, of course, I know many people who consider giving time generously to be their ministry, in such forms as parish work, direct help to the poor and other needs of social justice, and, above all, generous time for the family. I consider it unjust for some who are heavily involved with other ministries to consider as selfish those who don’t do parish work but who take care of their families, young and elderly, plus often both parents working outside the home or on computers, etc. out of their home offices.
The opposite of generosity is selfishness or, one might say, a certain tightness now called “entitlement” where someone is reluctant to extend him/herself both financially or with regard to time.

Observing generosity and tightness of all kinds in ourselves and those around us

Dr. Ronda’s examples: I notice people coming early to the daily Mass to set up the coffee and snacks. My daughter here in LA spends hours talking on the phone to friends who are lonely. These same friends provide loving concern for her troubles on the phone. A god-child of mine who is disabled and home-bound talks for hours to people in her town who come to visit her and need excellent advice. Both my daughters generously spend time making delicious meals for the family. The parish donates food to the hungry and people donate time to help run that same ministry. I sometimes charge for my time as a speaker, writer and teacher, but very often offer this free of charge.

Your examples:

Prayer: Dear Jesus, You exhorted us to be generous. I am very generous in some ways but tight about others, especially about time when someone’s needs conflict with my agenda. Please help me let go of that agenda for working for strangers, to helping others who are near.

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda Chervin by visiting RondaView. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website, rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.

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