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Leticia’s face was awash with tears as she entered my office. “Someone stole $20 from me on the bus!” she exclaimed in her native Spanish. Twenty dollars, while menial for some, was a substantial amount of money for her. Leticia had escaped from the bloody civil war in El Salvador to Washington, D.C. A single mother she worked hard every day cleaning houses to support her nine-month-old twins. I did all I could to calm her and promised that I would help.
Soon after another young mother, Linda, came to talk to me. She had seen Leticia crying and found out what had happened. Linda took $20 hard-earned dollars from her wallet and asked me to give it to Leticia, sharing only that it was a gift from someone who cared. Knowing Linda’s living situation, I was well aware that this gift would require sacrifices on her part. She had two young children, one of whom was blind since birth, and her financial situation was even more difficult than Leticia’s. When I expressed my concern over her offer, she simply stated that she wanted to help a person in need. Leticia’s smile upon receiving the gift lit up the office. She would have what she needed for her babies. Her smile turned to tears of joy when I related to her that the gift of $20 was from an anonymous friend. I could not help but look at Linda as Leticia left my office aglow. Linda had a similar glow, in fact, realizing that her sacrifice had helped another.
Generosity is a gift that we have all received. Like any other gift, it needs to be developed and nourished. Generosity produces joy as it is used, which changes the lives of both the receiver and the giver. After this experience, how do you think Leticia and Linda would react when they encounter someone in need?
Christ’s disciples are called to be generous as He is generous, even giving His life so that we may live eternally. May we always remember that it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.
May God bless you!