Sicut Dixit, Alleluia!!!
Christ has Risen,
as He said He would, Alleluia!!!
Last week I spoke about how the early Church evangelized in part in and through Good Deeds. These deeds encompass a whole range of Catholic Christian topics Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy – tending to the poor & marginalized – feeding the deepest needs of our hearts, minds, and bodies – assisting others. We are a people who should do Good Deeds, not for personal glory, vanity, or notoriety, but for the Glory, Beauty, the Holy Name of God – Father, Son, & Spirit. All we do is for God’s Glory. All we do is ultimately for our deepest good – growing in personal holiness and radiating the Gospel to others.
No doubt, we all (and I include myself first and foremost) fall short of this sort of goodness and good deeds. But failure to attain the Ideal does not mean we do not still strive for it. God’s love is not bought by our goodness, but our goodness reflects God’s innate love. And one of the greatest indicators of how we think about ‘deeds’ is the inner intention and motivation of them. Are we joy-filled in service? Are we eager, prompt, attentive, engaged? Are we the opposite?
St John Chrysostom, (c. 347-407ad) one of the great eastern Christian theologians and teachers in the early Church, has this to say with regard to Good Deeds:
Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.
Good Deeds performed with Joy, Love, Generosity for God’s Glory will evangelize, will transform, will entice others to the Gospel – always! Much is said today about ‘Kindness Matters’, and it does. But Kindness apart from Joy for the Gospel matters even more; for it reaches into your heart and mine – into the heart of the Receiver as well as the Giver – and transforms a kind deed into a gift of God’s Grace.
Jesus gave His most precious Life upon the Cross with utter & perfect Joy!
Pray with that for a while!
Holy Family, serving one another with Joy, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries