Compete with God

29 May 2018

There is a story about Saint Francis of Assisi that he and God were engaged in a competition. Each was determined to give what they had away to the other. The more Saint Francis gave away – possessions, reputation, family comforts, time, love, energy, food, self-regard – the more God blessed him with provision, converts, brothers, graces, ecstasies, miracles. The more Francis received from the Lord, the more he gave away. The more he gave away, the more the Lord poured new and more abundant graces into his life. It’s a powerful image of crazy mutual love, and I think of it whenever I hear today’s gospel:

Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.

It is a constant temptation to become overly attached to people and stuff, clinging to them to put value into our lives.
You know the feeling: ‘If only I had this car, that job, that friendship group, those letters after my name, that girl/boy’s attention, that person’s quick wit, this… (fill in the blank), THEN I would be happy!’

Here comes the gospel paradox: Joy consists in what we give away much more than in what we happen to possess. As Saint Francis found out, you can’t outdo God in giving. The more you give away, the more the blessings flow back to you. Even the persecutions that come can be experienced as ‘perfect joy’, Francis believed.

Lord, give us the grace to live generously. Saint Francis, pray for us!

>> Readings

Sign up for FREE

Want to stay connected to Christ and his Gospel every day?
Please fill in the form and submit to subscribe. Thanks.