Saturday, February 11, 2017
Charity: Pride (Vanity) or Kindness?
Earlier this morning, Mom reminded me that one of my best friendships started when I offered to share my umbrella with a fellow classmate with whom I had two courses. It was pouring that morning and, since our classes were at opposite ends of the campus, I asked him if he wanted to share the umbrella since he was getting soaked. He declined -- I believe he said something about it being okay; he was already wet anyway -- but it was the thing that started our friendship.
From that morning on, we started by acknowledging each other in classes... then we started talking on the walk towards our second class... then we started having a late breakfast after our second class in the class cafeteria... and then we eventually started hanging out (with friends) outside of school. It was a lovely friendship that ultimately ended because another mutual friend wasn't very nice and ruined the friendship. (semi-spoiler: the character of Candice in the first Will and Lina novel was partially based on the girl who ruined this -- and other -- real-life friendship(s)).
I'm not sharing this story to make myself look good. No, I'm sharing it because one thing stuck out about this one little act: I did it with no motive. I saw a classmate getting soaking wet on our walk, his shoulders tensed up as he hugged himself to keep warm in his jacket. It wasn't because I thought he was cute (I never thought about that; our friendship was never based on any physical attraction). It wasn't because I thought it would make me feel good or make me look good to others. I just felt like doing it. That then brought on the question: how many things to do we do for others out with some type of motivation?
Let's be honest: most of us have done something for others to look pious, charitable, and/or to gain something out of it at some point in our lives, even if it was only once. I've been totally guilty of this, even if the only thing I gained was the satisfactory feeling of doing something good for someone else. "Ooh, look how charitable I am." Yuck!
When I think about doing something for someone, sometimes I have to stop and thinking about whether I'm doing it because I want to do it -- because God commanded that we love our neighbors -- or because of a selfish motivation. Furthermore, I thought about the times I've shared what I've done for others and wonder if I've done that out of pride (vanity). I have a great respect and admiration for those who do things anonymously. You know, the ones we hear about in the news but never find out their identity.
I want to issue a challenge to anyone who is willing to accept it: for Lent (and it is coming in a couple of weeks), do an act of charity that will not benefit you... and don't tell anyone about it. Ask yourself "what if I have to gain from this?" If the answer is "nothing", do it. As you do it, offer it up for any intention you may have or for the souls in purgatory. Thank God for the opportunity to do something for one of His children. It doesn't matter if it's something small or seemingly insignificant. We sometimes believe that little things don't make an impact but they can in ways we can't imagine. I believe that doing something for others out of brotherly love will help us slowly shed any pride we may have. At least, that's what I'm hoping. It's something I hope will help me be less selfish and vain and make me someone worthy of entering Heaven one day.
Anyway, that's it for now. Like I said, I still have a lot to do today and I might not have enough hours to do them. I do have a few blog posts coming up in the next couple of days, including a giveaway that could be useful for Lent. ;)
I hope y'all have a lovely weekend!
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D