A heart touched by God’s generosity

In his book, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, Matthew Kelley asks: “Have you wandered what God is really like? How would you describe him?” He then answers his own question by saying: “ One word I would use is generous.  In everything we attribute to God, I see immense acts of generosity. Creation is generous. Free will is generous. Life is generous. Love is generous. The generosity of God is awesome.”

I could not agree more. Indeed, if there is one attribute of God where our own generosity, joy, and kindness emanate, it is from God’s personal generosity to us and to the world.

This is very true in the life of my friend, Dr. Tess Mauricio. A few days ago I asked her where she gets her exuberance and joy in her work as a doctor and a talk show host.  “I always try to come from a place of gratitude and I always thank God for all the blessings and all these wonderful opportunities to spread inspiration and positive attitude,” she answered. “I want to spread the grace. And I do look at my work as my ‘ministry’ although not from a pulpit…It energizes me to know that I could be making a difference in people’s lives,” she added.

On a broader plane of vocation, indeed, where does our response come from? It flows from a deep awareness of God’s personal love for us and his generosity. “I will follow you, Lord” only comes from a person who has profoundly experienced God’s kindness, mercy, and love.

I should know this fundamental truth. When I was in high school, I spent a retreat called Life in the Spirit. I remember listening to testimonies, praising God in songs, lifting my hands in prayer, and being prayed over by the retreat team. Miraculously, I came out of that weekend retreat filled with gratitude to God. Being young and innocent, I didn’t possess any grand abilities or accomplishments yet, but my heart was filled with gladness to God for his awesome love to me. Consequently, I would write poetry to God, walked joyously in the rain and praise God in songs. Looking back, this was the initial reason why I said “yes” to God’s call to be a priest.  I wanted to reciprocate God’s love.

The Scriptures and our Catholic theology are clear that the reason why Jesus, the Son of God, became one with us to save us through his death and resurrection was because of his unbounded love for his Father.  His yes to the cross was due to his desire to be in perfect union with his Father. And so the Gospel this Sunday tells us that he “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” and he challenged his disciples to do the same. “Let the dead bury their dead,” he told them.

Jesus’ passion and determination to obey the will of his Father had come a heart that was filled with gratitude and love for him.  There was no stronger motive than this one. Hence, the Mass that we celebrate every Sunday and everyday is an eternal expression of Jesus’ thanksgiving to his Father through his offering of his Body and Blood for the life of the world.

I hope that this is true for all of us.  Any expression of love or service to God and other people, be it small or grand, should come from a heart t that has been touched by God’s unsurpassed love and generosity.

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Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas attended St. John Seminary in Camarillo, California and earned his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri.  For twenty years, he has been in the parish ministry of large multi-cultural communities.  Since 2002, he has been the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Los Angeles. Please email Fr. Rodel at odey413@aol.com. 

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