The Theology of Giving
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
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The goods of the earth have been given for all.
We are to share those goods not simply when we don t need them, but also when we
do. There is, indeed, a theology of giving.
Giving, whether of our time, talent, or treasure,
is based on the example God himself gives us by creating us and dying for us. He
taught us the meaning of giving when we don t have to and of giving
from our very substance, from our very life.
After observing the rich putting their sizable
donations into the temple treasury, Jesus saw a poor widow making her
contribution, whereupon He said, "I assure you, this poor widow has put in
more than all the rest. They make contributions out of their surplus, but she
from her want has given what she could not afford -- every penny she had to live
on" (Luke 21:3-4).
Most of us give to some charity at some time or
other, and most of us give what we do not need. But how often do we give away
what we do need? "But I need it," we object. Yet that is precisely why we
need to share it.
We are one body.
The needs of another are not just the other s
needs; they are ours. We are one. St. Paul teaches, "The body is one
and has many members, but all the members, many though they are, are one body;
and so it is with Christ….God has so constructed the body…that there may be no
dissension in the body, but that all the members may be concerned for one
another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is
honored, all the members share its joy. You, then, are the body of Christ. Every
one of you is a member of it" (1Cor.12:12, 24-27).
How much should we give to a cause that we know
is right? The measure of our giving should be how much the other needs the
gift, not how much the giver does not need it.
No group of people is more needy in our society
than the unborn, deprived of the very right to their lives. More money is spent
in this country to kill the unborn than is spent to save them. Some wealthy
people contribute billions to the very groups that promote the killing.
"I ask you, how can God s love survive
in a man who has enough of this world s goods yet closes his heart to his
brother when he sees him in need?" (1 John 3:17).
Given that the greatest of "this world s goods" is life itself, we can rephrase
How can God s love survive in anyone who is alive yet closes his
heart to his brother who is in danger of death?
When we give out of our very need, we give life
itself to others. Nowhere is that more true than when we give to the efforts to