Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Time

We have all heard or read Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain has the worker from his toil?  I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man's mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

I think that my post yesterday may have come off as harsh, possibly as judgmental. That was not my intended tone, but that happens sometimes when I get really bothered by something. I suppose that was my soapbox, so to speak.

I did not intend to say that at all times we must give until it hurts. Certainly even Mother Teresa slept, rested, prayed.

And we all have seasons in which we can do more than in others. That's what I love about the above scripture verse. It is a reminder that we can not live life the same way every day, nor every week, nor month, nor year. When I am ill, I can not think of doing anything beyond getting from sun up to sun down.When my children are ill, the same goes. When I am really down, I have to depend on someone else to help. That is my season to receive, not to give. When we have lost a loved one, we receive prayers, visits, food. When we have not, we give those things. When times are tight, financially, we pinch, and if we have to, we ask for help. When we have extra, we give.

I suppose my point was, asking for help, and expecting a handout are two different things. As are helping, and giving until it hurts.

It is often very, very difficult to ask for help, especially if one has been most self-sufficient as an adult. We all know someone who is always dependent (that is tiresome), and we all know someone who physically hurts when forced to be dependent.

There is redemption in giving, as well as receiving. The giver wins and the receiver wins, but only when both acts are made in charity.

Have you ever had a child who was angry and begrudgingly accepted a treat offered? He or she did it with displeasure, with resentment, not with love? It's not very pretty. It is always beautiful to have acts of charity accepted lovingly, and it is always beautiful to lovingly receive acts of charity. Know what I mean? It's a win, win.

Anyway, just wanted to clear that up. And to say, every act of charity doesn't have to hurt. You can do nice things when you can. If that is a simple as pushing a shopping cart into the store since you're going in anyway, do it. If it means making an extra loaf of bread or doubling a pot of soup for a friend who is feeling down, do it. Or cleaning up some shoes and clothes and taking them to someone who needs them.

If we take ours eyes from ourselves for just a moment, and we make those moments more frequent...one day we will be on the path of the saints.

Charity is the form, mover, mother and root of all the virtues.

- Saint Thomas Aquinas 


  1. I think you should be able to blog about what you want to blog about. It is YOUR bloggy!!! At least you dont make fun of kids names!ha!

    1. I just wanted to make sure my point was clear. Sometimes I feel like I'm babbling and making no sense at all!

      PS I admit I laugh at your name posts!

  2. I follow you.

    (that's a joke my husband always says to my 4 year old)

  3. I didn't comment yesterday (reading on my phone), but I agreed with you. Especially, if we are all giving, then everyone would be taken care of. We *all* have something to give.

    In Jamie Jo's case, she's giving immensely by raising her children and taking care of their all-consuming needs. Corporal works of mercy don't all have to be outside the home! When we are in that season, we have to give spiritually through prayer.

    I'm guilty of being too consumed by the day-to-day existence to make the extra effort that's needed, often. It's sad. I'm working on it. I think it's primarily a (bad) habit from spending so many years of that Giving in the Home Season!

  4. Sara,
    I completely agree. When you are completely consumed with others in your vocation, you ARE giving, and often until it hurts! It's when we can look up a little from what we're doing that's it's time to see who else we can bring into our circle.

  5. We have a little coffee ministry going on here. I have this idea that the only way to really minister to people is to feed them. So I feed them and ply them with coffee. If anyone stops by at meal time, an extra plate is set. If it's sometime mid-day, the coffee is started. I've noticed that most people just need to be heard, and food is such a natural medium for relaxation and conversation.

    True story: I was at a Homemakers event last July and mentioned to a friend I hadn't seen in a while that I was pregnant. She was overjoyed, and it took about 3.2 seconds for the news to make the rounds of every (predominantly elderly) woman present. I spent the rest of the day listening sympathetically to tales of infertility and loss. It doesn't bother me; I long ago recognized that women have a deep need to share these things with someone who might understand their pain. However, a less tolerant acquaintance of mine noted the steady parade of women to my station and commented on it to our group later. She was baffled at my patience. I just shrugged. "People just need someone to listen."

    I thought about your giving till it hurts post when you wrote it (and I was not offended!) Giving isn't always a material thing, and Imust confess that sometimes my way of giving (listening) is very painful. People drop in at inconvenient times, sometimes one right after another. Sometimes it's hard to tell what the person needs to say, though she's obviously got something on her mind. Sometimes I get frustrated with people's inability to make any sort of positive change for themselves. And sometimes I just get tired of making coffee.

    Giving cash or crocheted baby blankets to a local charity would actually be easier. :-)

    But here we are, and we keep on "giving till it hurts", because that's what the people around us need. Do what you can where you can and when you can. (Sometimes, you can't!) Accept graciously the generosity offered to you by others, because even that can be a way of giving. And do your best to love them just as they are. That's all most people need.

  6. I completely agree, Jennie. St. Therese "gave until it hurt" right in her own cloistered community -- by being kind to those she had the hardest time with. That IS harder than buying canned goods!

    Another quote from Blessed Mother Teresa, "Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don't only give your care, but give your heart as well."


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!