My Beloved the benevolent
I would like to congratulate you and wish you a blessed Jonah’s fast which starts this year on Monday, February 6th, and then the Great Lent which starts on Monday, February 20th. Lent is a special spiritual time – and one of the most beautiful virtues during lent is the virtue of helping the needy.
Christ our Lord talked to us in the Sermon on the Mount about merciful work and offering charity through the following words, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them, otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you they have their reward. But when you do charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. That your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matt. 6:1-4)
We should note the following:
- Not every merciful and charitable deed is acceptable before God, the one who offers charity to gain popularity among people, will get his reward from the people. In Matthew 6:2, Christ our Lord describes a group of charitable people as hypocrites because they do good deeds, so they get glorified by people. We should purify our motives when offering merciful deeds. In this day and age the substitute for the trumpet is the media, whether it is journalism or TV, and/or social media. For when an incident happens that the media focuses on, many agencies and individuals rush to help. Some aim to help and some aim for publicity and some aim for both. You can visit the sick quietly and you can visit with the accompaniment of the media. You can visit the sick without taking pictures and you can visit and post your picture of your visit on your Facebook page or Instagram or others. You can help a poor child without announcing it and you can help a poor child by posting his picture to your friends and fool yourself into thinking that you are being a role model for them, but you should search your heart. Beware of the most threatening thing to charitable deeds nowadays is mixing them with “advertising” and using charitable deeds for personal glorification.
Many look for social status for themselves through helping the poor and needy, so when an incident happens that the media focuses on, many rush to contribute, but when media focus is lightened, the enthusiasm lightens as well.
- Christ our Lord talked about the reward for charitable deeds and distinguishes between two rewards: The reward from our Father in heaven, which is kept for those who do charitable deeds in secret and do not seek praise from people, and the reward from people, which is for the ones who do charitable deeds to receive praise from the people. Many use the poor – especially children – as valuable material to gain praise and financial benefit. Many successfully use media outlets to advertise their charitable deeds. Many became distinguished social models in charitable deeds. All those have received their reward from the people and have become famous, gaining social status, and having agencies that collect millions, but they have no reward from our Father who art in heaven (Matt. 6:1) If you want to be rewarded by people, you will receive it, but it’s a temporary and insignificant one. But if you want the eternal reward, you’ll need to challenge yourself, you’ll need to evaluate your life and you’ll need to do charitable deeds in secret which is the more difficult way, but the better way.
- Let us be wise in doing charitable deeds for eternal glory not for the temporary one.
May God bless all your offerings to support Santa Verena Charity Programs and fill your hearts with peace.