This is the second week of a Lenten series. This week we focus on almsgiving.
By: Brendan Gotta, Guest Contributor
During my junior year of college, I was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in Europe. While there, I spent 10 days in Romania on a mission trip.
I had all these ideas of how God would use me, how I was going to make a change, how I would be able to give.
God quickly changed my perspective.
On day one, I was hit with the reality that God didn’t call me there because of what I could give, but more so, what He could give me. He wanted to pour out his love upon me, and did so through the Byzantine priest who was hosting me and our 14 other missionaries. Throughout the mission, Father constantly poured out his love, but one thing stuck out to me most.
When we arrived in Turt (the mission village), we were taken straight to the Church grounds, and led into a new home adjacent to it. Father greeted us, and told more than half of us that we would be staying there. A beautiful new house, it seemed odd that some of us would stay there. As we continued to discuss the fortunate situation before us, it was revealed that this house was actually going to be where Father and his family would be living in a few weeks, but until then, was being offered to the missionaries.
Before Father or his family had ever slept in their new home, he offered it to us missionaries. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t have found us other places to stay, including his old home, but out of love, he offered his new house. We weren’t poor in the typical sense, but as missionaries we had poverty in the forms of no housing and dependence on the charity and hospitality of others. Father understood what the Catechism meant when it says, “giving alms to the poor is a witness to fraternal charity” (CCC 2462). He showed this by giving of himself in whatever way he could. He didn’t know us when he made the decision to let us stay in his house. He knew Christ, and that was enough.
I share this simple story to highlight the fact we are exactly two weeks through Lent, and there is work to be done. No matter how your Lent is going at this point, the Lord can use you.
I want to finish with one simple challenge to take with you the rest of these 40 days, and hopefully longer.
In the next few weeks, look at how fasting, prayer and almsgiving are being lived out in your life. Then, continually ask yourself this simple question: “Does this call me to love the most?” Our Lord Jesus wants us to journey with Him, to be on that same road that led Him to the cross, and we can do that by putting others before ourselves, and loving most fully.
Is what you’re doing calling you to love the most? I sure hope so.
Brendan Gotta serves the Diocese as the Young Adult Coordinator in the Office for Family Life.