“You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not sharing, not giving. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to me”.
Mother Teresa wasn’t too far away from us while she left the convent to keep busy performing miracles among the poor of Calcutta. The Saint of the Gutters knew what she was doing when she decided to take up the responsibility of bettering the life of those less fortunate, while living among them. Most middle school children note her down as their role model, but how many of us really, would be willing to say that we can imitate her life exactly?
Yes, of course that would be difficult. But that’s why she stood out. Her heart loved giving- and believe it or not, somewhere deep down, our hearts love giving too. Next time your babysitting your nephew or you’re volunteering at a special needs camp or something along the lines of that, and you notice the smile on the face of the child you’re helping- also notice how much joy that actually brings you.
Giving is harder than taking, obviously- but if you trust that we were created to give- you’ll realize that it isn’t that bad. Our hearts love to give and share, and to see the result of those actions. Students and working youth alike are most welcome to volunteer within their community always- and on a larger scale, donation is always popular. However, donations don’t always amount to the same as active participation does. The latter opens your heart to the situation that you support, the cause that you’re contributing to. We are called to serve among one another, not to just passively fund the same.
Our role model for charity has always been Blessed Mother Teresa. Her sayings are some of the most mind-blowing ones in case the act of serving somehow feels like an obstacle to your pride or whatever that might be holding you back. She knew that it ultimately all boiled down to love, as she believed that the fruit of love is service, and that the fruit of service is peace. She said once, “When a person dies of hunger, it isn’t because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you or I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”
Giving back to the community; thus comes with the realization that some people aren’t as gifted as you are, and that you have the ability to make their world a better place. Yes, I know I may sound like everyone else who is preaching you to perform charitable acts, but let’s look at it this way, if you don’t try it out, how shall you ever know the joy of sharing? I guess a good place to start would be with a prayer to the Lord to make us open to others’ suffering and to make us worthy enough to change that.
Last year, around this time, I lost someone who was very dear to me. This gave me sufficient time to reflect how I could direction my attention to others who equally needed me. But I hadn’t realized that the whole time! Anyway, what it taught me was to love and give without expecting anything in return, with a nothing-to-lose approach.
Take one example of the work of the Chotanagpur Migrant Tribal network Department (CMTD) in Mumbai, India. With eleven centres under its network all across the city, it caters to about 10,000 tribals, organizing various community events for them. But in co-ordination with Fr.Paul Vaz, Director-General at the Xavier Institute of Management and Research, St. Xavier College campus, they hold the brilliantly-celebrated Samuka Vivaah. This event of joint marriages is aimed towards making tribal couples aware that the institution of marriage is sacred and a one-time commitment. This enables this section of society to share wedding costs, which makes it affordable for them, and it also gives them a certain social dignity in the city and back in their villages. They also receive gifts from the sponsors, like household articles, etc. that they can use to kick-start their married life.
CMTD really empowers these tribals by fighting for their exploitation and exposing them to the joys of a life lived meaningfully. This is just another one of the great things to be involved in- it has a dual benefit-moral and societal. Giving others always works both ways- love is received, love is given. You learn, and they benefit too.
Because our hearts love giving, let us allow them to. If we can’t perform great things, let us do small ones with great love.
If you happen to be interested in learning about one of Fr. Paul’s many charitable initiatives, please do contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://paulvaz.blogspot.com/ or give him a ring at 9819427183.
Also learn more about the Shrine’s activities athttp://dbmshrine.org/projects.htm