MANILA, Sept. 30, 2013—A high-ranking official of the Catholic Church on Saturday urged the laity to live the virtue of generosity in their lives by imitating the actions of the Divine in extending help to those who are needy.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that those who recognize the Divine as the source of every blessing must strive to follow His ways in sharing their blessings to others.
“We learn how to give by first receiving and learning from God the giver. We do not have any other model but the Lord for all of us have experienced His generosity,” Tagle said in his keynote speech during Caritas Manila’s Generosity Conference held at the San Carlos Seminary.
“The challenge is if we are aware of how God blesses us. Have we thought of how much God has bestowed us with blessings? If yes, you would not just be thankful. You would also be changed,” he added.
“How you receive from our generous Lord is also how you should give to others. Learn from God who is the Father,” he noted.
Citing verses from the bible, Tagle said humans who are bestowed with material riches must not act arrogantly for what they have received are mere blessings from the Divine.
“Do you possess anything that you have not received from God? Nothing…then why are you being eaten by pride?…All of us are just beggars who are begging blessings from the Lord,” he said.
Noting that generosity is a Divine act, Tagle urged the laity to emulate the works of the Lord in extending help to those who are in need.
“It is not enough that we will only receive. We also have to imitate His works by being generous to others. Have we learned enough from His actions?” he said.
“Do not let a day pass without realizing how generous the Lord has been. From the moment you wake up, the Lord showers you with endless blessings throughout the day. Without Him, we would not last a day for His blessings sustain us to life. We live because of His generosity to us,” Tagle added.
Show-off, pretentious helping
He also criticized those who help others for the sake of drawing attention and praises from others.
“When we give, we should not seek attention from others. Help others secretly because it is not important for other people to know. What matters is for the Lord to witness your willingness to help,” Tagle said.
“What we are looking after is your attitude of generosity—the act of giving without seeking personal gains such as praises for yourself. It might be part of human nature to feel flattered whenever you are praised, but that is only okay if the praise is given by others,” he added.
“What the Lord despises is if you are the one initiating moves to publicize the good you have done,” he noted.
The prelate also reminded people that the prime motivation of generosity must be love, noting that if this virtue is absent, the act of giving loses its essence.
“The internal and external senses must act hand-in-hand whenever we help others. If your hand is giving, your heart must also be willing to give. It must not be the case that your heart is filled with regret as you extend help to others,” he said.
“Whatever you receive as a gift, give as a gift as well…Let the circulation of gifts continue. Do not treat your blessings as mere properties that you solely own,” Tagle added.
Just like Christ who blessed every person regardless of their personal backgrounds, Tagle called on the faithful to be generous also to their enemies.
“Be generous even to your enemies. Like the Lord who offered His life to both the good and the sinful, you must also do the same. Give to the man who begs from you. Do not turn your back from them,” he noted. (Jennifer Orillaza)