“Be Generous” Sub-Pages:
Be the change that you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi
Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
In Cardinal Ratzinger’s book What It Means to be a Christian (in a chapter entitled “The Law of Superabundance”), he provides a very helpful exposition of what it really means to be a Christian…
To follow this thought, we first need to look at a preliminary piece from the previous chapter…
…everything we encounter in dogma is, ultimately, just interpretation: interpretation of the one truly sufficient and decisive fundamental reality of the love between God and men. And it remains true, consequently, that those people who are truly loving, who are as such also believers, may be called Christians.
Then, in the context of this quote from the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” he has this to say:
Whenever we read this passage, it weighs on us; it crushes us. Yet there is a verse just before that gives the passage its whole meaning when it says, “I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). The key word in this verse is “exceeds”. The original Greek is still more strongly expressed, and only that really shows the basic intention here. In literal translation, it says, “Unless your righteousness has more superabundance than that of the scribes and Pharisees…”
Here we meet with a theme that runs through the whole of Christ’s message. The Christian is the person who does not calculate; rather, he does something extra. He is in fact the lover, who does not ask, “How much farther can I go and still remain within the realm of venial sin, stopping short of mortal sin?” Rather, the Christian is the one who simply seeks what is good, without any calculation. A merely righteous man, the one who is only concerned with doing what is correct, is a Pharisee; only he who is not merely righteous is beginning to be a Christian. Of course, that does not, by a long way, mean that a Christian is a person who does nothing wrong and has no failings. On the contrary, he is the person who knows that he does have failings and who is generous with God and with other people because he knows how much he depends on the generosity of God and of his fellowmen.
Understand Your Purpose in Life:
C.S. Lewis once said: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance; and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
“The Benefit of the Doubt”: Be Generous in the Way We Think of Others
*The quote from Pope Francis at the top of the page is from his Address to Participants in the Plenary of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, September 27, 2014