The text of today’s tweet from Pope Francis hit my phone at 1:45 am:
Lord, help us always to be more generous and closer to poor families.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 28, 2015
I read it during one of my middle of the night periods of wakefulness, offered a quiet prayer, and then rolled back over and drifted off to sleep in my comfortable bed. It’s so very easy to think, “Yeah, I’ll do something about that tomorrow…” and then go back to my regular, complacent attitude.
When I looked at the tweet again during my prayer time this morning, I smiled to myself how very often Pope Francis tweets about themes that I pondered (and keep working at) in The Grace of Yes. Where I needed a book to express my desire to live more generously in the world around me, Pope Francis can tweet in less than 70 characters and move the world.
I’ve been challenging myself to think about a few simple ways that I can be more generous today, Friday, August 28, 2015.
It seems to me that too often, we equate the word “generous” with financial matters. Just this morning, I had an email from someone inquiring about a “Grace of Yes” talk that I’ll be giving at a parish this Fall. She wrote me to ask if I would be doing “financial planning”. After laughing to myself at what a disaster that might be, I shared the following in my response to her:
My talk is for anyone, certainly any Christian for sure – and relates to trying to prayerfully discern and align ourselves with God’s will for our lives so that we can give God our best “Yes”. I believe when we do this, by the very nature of saying “Yes” to God, not only will we be blessed, but we’ll want to live more generously in the world around us. By “generosity” here, I’m not speaking of financial generosity (although for some of us that may be part of it). I’m speaking of living lives of loving and prayerful service in the world around us. We each have a unique and special calling from God. I believe we are each called to do amazing things, each of us according to our own gifts. My talk will be hopefully a motivational encouragement for each of us to listen for and to answer affirmatively God’s ongoing call in our lives. I won’t be discussing financial planning in any way, except to very briefly say that how we steward our financial gifts is an important component of our “Yes”. No financial “advice” will be be given.
But how easy it is to sit behind my keyboard and write about “generosity” and then say to myself, “I’m so busy today, Lord. I’ll be more generous tomorrow.”
So today, I’m committing myself to three simple acts of generosity (defined by Merriam-Webster as “the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish”). Today I will:
- Fast from one meal and place the equivalent of what I would have spent on that meal into our parish collection for families in need on Sunday.
- Call a loved one for no reason and listen lovingly to them in conversation, without multitasking while I do it.
- Go out of my way to be present for someone I know is suffering and offer special prayers for that person today.
Is the world going to be dramatically changed by my small efforts to (as Pope Francis challenges) “always be generous”. Honestly, probably no one will even notice. But if we ALL commit to this–even if only to ONE act of simple generosity–things can and will change for the better. I’m challenging all of us, myself included, to stop waiting for an organization, a politician, or a business to change our world.
Let’s just do what Pope Francis asked us today. Let’s lovingly and more generously draw closer to those in need.
A question for you: What is one simple thing that you can do today to be a more generous person?
Copyright 2015 Lisa M. Hendey
Image credit: hannahpirnie, Pixabay