To The Last Drop
It’s radical living to give of one’s substance rather than out of excess.
The poor woman who gives two (monetarily) worthless coins. She is more highly praised than the richest who give much money but little of their wealth. They are giving an investment to cash in on later. They hardly feel a dent of inconvenience from their large gifts.
Christ calls us to be like the beggar woman, whose actions are quietly courageous. She is poor, yet gives everything. She entrusts her body, mind, and soul to God’s grace and the goodwill of others. Give freely of all you have, and do not worry about getting a leg up in this world. God will reward you in Heaven.
In her life on Earth, St. Mother Teresa said that others will question your kindness, take advantage of your generosity, and claim your achievements as their own. Be kind, generous, and work hard anyway.
These are big words, especially coming from a woman in the depths of a dark night of the soul. Mother Teresa shines such radiant light, yet her inner spiritual journey was walking through the valley of death. At times she could not hear God, and her prayer life was desolate.
How do we give what we do not have? When I am drained of energy, motivation, and inspiration, how do I keep going? There is work to do, responsibilities to my house, and accountability with the wider Jesuit Volunteers Canada community. Even more, how do I continue to offer myself lovingly, intentionally, and freely to each of these needs? I am spiritually wrung out – where do I regenerate what I have lost?
This is the perspective from which I speak living in downtown Toronto. We are surrounded by pressure to conform to retail culture. Goods are produced and flaunted in advertising. Happiness can be yours for a price. Work to pay for things to fill the void – but so many people end up still unsatisfied no matter what is purchased.
We are living for more than cut and dried transactions. We are living in relationship. There is giving that can never be reciprocated and unexpected gifts that have no repayment. And all it takes is giving of my most authentic and vulnerable self completely, until the well runs dry. Then dig a little deeper and share what I never knew I had inside.
Reflections from Louise French, a volunteer with Jesuit Volunteers Canada, on simple living in community and working with the homeless, the precariously housed and the marginalized poor of Toronto.