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  • Sarah Raad

Generosity

Please, I implore you… give, give and give. For when we give what little we have, God multiplies it ad infinitum.

The Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes (Tintoretto)

Today in Mass, while I was praying for a myriad of intentions, I heard the beautiful Gospel story that describes the miracle of the loaves and the fish (John, 6:1-15). This Gospel practically interrupted my prayers. For I was praying for the family of little Baby Charbel and all of those who grieve, the sick the recovered and recovering, those who are seeking their vocation, and of course the Lost Souls of Purgatory.


Amongst all these prayers for others, I prayed fervently for my family and myself – God make me a better mother… Guide me so that I can guide them… I am lost in the wilderness, teach me so that I may know what You would have of me… Teach me so that I can teach them… Bring us all to You…


And then, right there, in the middle of my prayers, just when I was ready to give up in despair – because today it felt to me that there were as many prayers as there were people in that crowded multitude that John speaks of in his Gospel – I heard the voice of God.


Obviously, I am no mystic! I did not hear God’s voice calling to me through the room, there was no vision of light, there was nothing out of the ordinary. But His voice was there nevertheless, speaking to me the words He had inspired in the mind of His beloved disciple almost two thousand years ago and intended just for my soul today.


“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” (John, 6:9).

That was just what I was thinking as I prayed today… “What good are these…?” My prayers are so few. They are so weak. I am so sinful… “What good are these…?”

And just when my human weakness – or perhaps the temptations of the Evil One – were positioning me to prepare to quit my ;prayers entirely, I heard this…


“When they had had their fill, He said to his disciples, ‘Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.’ So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.” (John 6:8-9).


Christ – who always GIVES, even to the point of DEATH, to SAVE US – GAVE that day. He continues to give… ad infinitum…


That little boy gave a few pieces of bread and a couple of fish, and Christ PROVIDED the rest.


I imagine how that little boy felt, which in my mind is probably like me this morning.


He was probably sitting there with his food that perhaps his mother had packed from him to last his the journey out to hear Christ, the entire day and then the journey home. In other words, that bread and fish was probably supposed to last hm several days if he kept it all to himself. Surely, he thought to himself… Who am I to give this food? What good will it do anyway? This Man before me is important and I am not, after all, look at all these people listening to him speak. Who am I to approach Him with what little I have? They will all laugh at me…


And then perhaps, his thoughts changed. Perhaps he thought to himself, but the Teacher looks tired. Surely, He too is hungry, for I have not yet seen Him eat yet today and He has had no break. Maybe if I offer Him the food, He at least will eat and have rest, even if it does nothing more…

And then – in a spirit of generosity and trust – this child stood up… and GAVE!

What GENEROSITY! What TRUST! All praise and glory to God!


How clearly that child SAW THE FACE OF GOD that day, just so that I could HEAR HIS HOLY VOICE today… He did not withhold his generosity for fear of being ridiculed – after all what good were a few pieces of bread and a little fish in the face of this multitude?


What good are my prayers when the multitude of intentions reach out forever in a line before and behind me – a line of petition and thanksgiving without end?


And yet, this boy gave everything that he had, because he trusted in his generosity that God would graciously accept his offering.


That is the example that I must follow with my meagre and inadequate prayers today…


I read a beautiful reflection by a priest who I do not know this morning and it summarised this sentiment perfectly…


When Saint Josemaría was a young and poor priest he approached a woman begging and blessed her, because having no money he had nothing else to give to her. In exchange for his blessing, he said to the woman, “I beg you to offer up what you can for an intention of mine (which was his ministry, vocation and his work).” Some months later, while visiting the sick in hospital, Saint Josemaría met the woman again and now she was dying of tuberculosis. When he spoke to her she told him, “Don't you understand, Father? You told me: ‘Offer up what you can’. I didn't have anything to offer up... So I offered up my life!”…


Saint Josemaría called this woman the ‘first vocation of his future daughters’.


Please God, allow me to be the second…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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