15 June 2008

Free Gifts

In today's Gospel the Lord tells us that because we have received without cost we should give without cost. It is easy to associate that maxim with material items. We can consider that all the things we "have" are really ours to "use" -- and that they are gifts from God -- and so we should share them freely. True enough.
One could, however, go a bit further and suggest that what we have received "without cost" from the Lord is his mercy and his love. We have done nothing to earn these gifts. And it is these same gifts we are to give "without cost." We do not need to wait for someone to "earn" our affection, our kindness, our willingness to overlook shortcomings. It is easy to act this way toward those we love and those whom we respect; it can be a challenge to act this way toward those for whom we do not have such positive feelings. Let us ask for the grace to be grateful for this "free gift" and for the grace to share it with those around us -- at no cost!

"The sweet support of our neighbor consists in gently bearing with him in the trying things he does and says, in all that goes against the grain and is distasteful to us, in not wondering at his failings and imperfections and in no wise entertaining any depreciation of him or dryness of heart against him . . . but bearing in our hearts a tender and loving compassion which will soften us towards him."
St. Jane de Chantal

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