Gratitude and Generosity

I attended Mass this morning at Our Lady of Lourdes parish, as I gave a talk following Mass on Vatican II and the Role of the Laity. During his sermon, Fr. Mike Keating spoke about the relationship between gratitude and generosity.

The relationship is a simple one. If we recognize that all we have is a gift from God, a gift freely offered out of God’s love for us, then we can’t help but be grateful. That gratitude for gift freely given disposes us to generosity. And knowing that God is the source of all we have and all we need, we can offer freely.

If, however, we don’t recognize that all is gift from God and lack a sense of gratitude for what we have, our generosity is limited. Either we lack generosity altogether, feeling like we deserve to keep what is “ours.” Or we are generous for the wrong reasons – e.g. out of a sense of obligation. Or we are generous out of our surplus, like the rich people in today’s Gospel from St. Mark, who Jesus criticizes because they give only “out of their surplus wealth.”

God will provide all that we need. If we recognize that and are grateful for it, we can’t help but to share what we have with others.

PS – I did not record today’s Vatican II talk, but I gave a talk on the same subject at St. Thomas Apostle on Wednesday evening at St. Thomas Apostle, which you can listen to here.