Gratuitous and generous self-giving

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT’S how our self-giving should be. It should be both gratuitous and generous, without expecting any reward nor counting the cost. We should just give and give, knowing that God can never be outdone in generosity. He gives himself completely to us. We should learn to give ourselves to him completely as well.

We are reminded of this condition in our life in that gospel where Christ talked about the unprofitable servant. (cfr. Lk 17,7-10) “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do,’” he said. (Lk 17,10)

This should be the attitude in our self-giving. We should not worry about anything, because God knows everything and gives us everything that we need. The more we give of ourselves, the more he will reward us.

We just have to do our self-giving very freely. As Christ himself told his apostles, “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Mt 10,8) And the first one to live by this principle is Christ himself. He gave himself freely to us, including his own life. He did not mind the sacrifices, the insults and mistreatment he underwent.

This is what true love is. It is a total self-giving. But the mysterious part of it is that it actually generates more love and self-giving in others. It inspires others to give themselves in the way of true love. That is why true love has its own reward. It has the dynamic of being repaid also with love.

We should always be encouraged to give ourselves to others gratuitously without strings attached, without conditions. Even if instead of being reciprocated properly and requited, our love is misunderstood and rejected, we just have to go on loving. The only reason for loving is because that is what true love is. It is this love that is the real essence of God, of whom we are his image and likeness.

Loving in this way can only mean giving all the glory to God. We have to be careful because we always have the tendency to give glory to ourselves, if not totally then at least partially. Our motto should be “Deo omnis gloria,” all the glory to God.

We should not worry about our own glorification because God will take care of it. This is what St. Paul said in this regard: “For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…And those he predestined he also called. Those he called he also justified. Those he justified he also glorified…If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8,29-31)

And we should be generous in our self-giving, because the more generous we are with God and with others, the more generous God will be with us. This is just a simple law of ‘we reap what we sow.’ We usually sow just a seed, but with the generosity with which we take care of that seed, we are bound to get a lot of fruit later on.

We have been repeatedly assured that if we are generous with God and with others, we will also be the object of a greater generosity from God and from others as well.

Christ said so. “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19,29) Yes, God cannot be outdone in generosity.