“Every charitable act is a stepping stone toward heaven.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” That was the question posed by someone to Jesus. The young man was sincere in his questioning and, from his response to Jesus, must have been a good person. When Jesus told him that he needed to follow the commandments, the young man said that he had. Was there anything more required of him? Jesus looked at him and acknowledged that there was one thing more: sell all that he had, give to the poor, and then return to follow Jesus.
The young man went away sad because he had so many possessions. Those possession, we are led to presume, were too important to the young man to let go. That was why he left the Lord’s presence.
We are challenged by the Lord to give of ourselves completely. Some do not respond well to that message. It might be because they are holding on to their possessions too tightly and do not want to let anything go. Others might be free to dispose of their possessions but hang on tightly to their time and refuse to help others in need. Some might volunteer time or possessions but are reluctant to share their many talents with others.
The more we let go and give to others, the more we receive. Each act, each giving of ourselves, Beecher reminds us, is a stepping stone to heaven. Jesus wants to see the charity that is within us. Perhaps a better way to say it is that Jesus wants to see the love that is within us. That is the core word from which we derive “charity”. Ubi Caritas, Ibi Deus: Where there is Love, there is God.
FAITH ACTION: You know what to do. Give of yourself — of your time, talent, and treasure — so that those in need may have the help they require.