Sunday, January 7, 2018

"God loveth a cheerful giver." 2 Cor. 9:7

"You have just given yourself entirely to God. Now don't spend the rest of your life taking that back."

Priestly Generosity

On the day I was ordained to the priesthood, a single statement remained engraved in my memory. Now, years later, I realize it was a hint of the great offering that must be chosen repeatedly in life. The statement did not come from the homily of John Cardinal O'Connor, nor was it any words of my loving parents. After the ordination Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and a period of blessings at side altars, I ventured outside to the sidewalk to find a ride to the seminary in Yonkers, where a luncheon would take place. An older New York priest in his seventies, stocky and short, walked up briskly toward me with his hand extended. I expected a congratulations and a request for a first blessing. He took my hand and gripped it tightly and pulled me down toward himself as he spoke words that have been etched for years now in my memory. "You have just given yourself entirely to God. Now don't spend the rest of your life taking that back." Nothing more, and then he walked away. I am still grateful to hear those words repeated. But they have a different meaning now, years later. An entire offering is a demand whose magnitude I did not see until much later in time.

Father Donald Haggerty, Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter With God, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2017, 162.

Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings. Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Cor. 9:6-7

Plinthos: In the entry for January 7th of Plus' Toward the Eternal Priesthood I just read, under the title "The One Thing Necessary":

...In the midst of a world where so many are agitated and hurried, exhausting their energy to attain passing trifles, let me keep my soul in peace and take a true interest in the realities of the invisible world alone. In the midst of my daily round of duties, keep me ever mindful of the value of things eternal. Make me an apostle of detachment, one who has earned the right to speak authoritatively because of his strict observance of an evengelical life.
You know me. You know that, without exactly going back on my word, I seek comfort by going back to the thousand nothings which I am not strictly forbidden to have but which impair my perfect resemblance to You. Having gone so far as to set out upon a life of renunciation, I do not want it to be renunciation with compensation. Having once given all, I do not want to take it back little by little...
Reverend Raoul Plus, SJ, Towards the Eternal Priesthood, New York: Pustet, 1946, 222.
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