How ought we, the fortunate, respond to this largesse from the Lord? We could simply take and enjoy our good fortune. In doing so we would keep our focus on ourselves, or as Hopkins said in As Kingfishers Catch Fire, “What I do is me: for that I came.” But another response is to model the actions of the Lord by giving to others. Hopkins says later, “I say more: the just man justices.”
How do we model the Lord’s actions? How do we “justice” as Hopkins suggests?
We can easily be insensitive to the many opportunities to make these responses, paralyzed by the sheer magnitude of the want that exists in our world today. Infant mortality, starving people, disease, poverty of spirit, and other wants abound in our local and international communities. But I think it is important to remember the words of Dr. Jonas Salk in this regard. In his acceptance speech upon receiving the Congressional Medal of Distinguished Civilian Achievement in 1956, Dr. Salk said, “The greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.” Positive responses result in more positive responses. Saying yes makes it easier to say yes to the next request. Taking satisfaction in doing rather than receiving keeps us focused on the other, not self.
As we deepen our awareness of our personal freedom from want that comes from God, our gratitude will grow. The deeper our gratitude, the greater will be our joy of being one with the Lord. And from this joy will spring a deep and abiding love for the God who frees us from all our wants.
And so my prayer today is for the strength to say yes more times than no and to be sensitive to where I can share God’s great gift of freedom from want with my sisters and brothers who are in need.
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