Daily Reflection
June 16th, 1999
Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
“Let me say this much: He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.  Everyone must give according to what he has inwardly decided; not sadly, not grudgingly, for God loves a cheerful giver.”        (2 Cor 9:6,7)

Today’s Scripture readings draw our attention to giving generously.  What strikes me is Paul’s encouragement for each of us to give “according to what he has inwardly decided.”  In other words, he is speaking to us of an “inner attitude” which lies in our hearts and forms our decisions on how to give and what to give.  This inner attitude then prompts giving not out of forced obligation (“not sadly”), but out of knowing that we are loved.  How can we do this more readily?

If you are familiar with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, you may know of his “Contemplation to Attain Divine Love.”  I’ve heard this imaginatively portrayed through an “exercise” to recall the events where God has been present for us, much as our ancestors would do in recounting the events of salvation history.  The vehicle for this remembering is in the phrase, “It would have been enough….”  For example, in speaking of salvation history, one might say, “It would have been enough if you made a covenant with Abraham and led him to the promised land, but you also gave us Moses and the prophets.  It would have been enough if you gave us Moses and the prophets, but you led us out of slavery through the Red Sea, etc.”

How good it is to recall for ourselves what the Lord has done for us—in our own history, within our families, in our work, in our own hearts.  This “exercise” of “It would have been enough…” then leads to a response from us.  Our response is captured in the psalmist’s words, “How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?”  (Ps. 116).  As you and I are “tasting” the bounty of the Lord in our lives and in each day, how easier it is “to make a return to the Lord” by giving “cheerfully” from what has already given to us by God.  A simple but regular “review” of our day or week can call to mind God’s presence in ways that we missed.  This receiving of God’s love engenders gratitude, the source of our love for others.

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