Giving and Receiving Freely

I just finished reading Rev. Jacques Philippe’s Interior Freedom, a gem of a book which I mentioned in a post the other day. It is a slim volume and offers much fruit for reflection about what it means to live in the true freedom which which God calls each of us.

Late in the book Philippe talks about learning to love, which he describes as “learning to give freely and receive freely.” Neither is all that easy for us. Giving without expectation of return, without a motive of self-gratification, is something we have to work at. Likewise receiving not as reward or as something due, but with open heart and trust, requires humility.

Philippe writes

We commit a fault against this free giving and receiving, in our relationship with God or with other people, every time we make the good we’ve done into an excuse for claiming a right, demanding gratitude or recompense. But we also do that more subtly every time we are afraid of not receiving love due to this or that limitation or personal shortcoming. Jesus in the Gospel does all he can to destroy this way of thinking. We find it hard to accept this reversal of our values, but we will never find happiness without it.

Philippe describes Kingdom as

the world where love is the only law, a paradise of free giving and free receiving. Here are no more “rights” and “duties,” nothing to defend or earn, no more opposition between “yours” and “mine.” Here the heart can expand infinitely.

Whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “Thy Kingdom come.” Let’s pray that more actively, by working on freely giving and receiving (the second of which, for many of us, may be harder than the first).

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