“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.” – C.S. Lewis
This famous Christian author who conveyed something of the beauty of our faith in the famous children’s work “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” manages in simple and practical terms to express what Christian generosity looks like. For my part, I feel challenged by his words. I am not sure that my level of generosity requires that I forego certain comforts, luxuries or amusements that would be common for one with the same income as I have.
This season of Lent, then, becomes an opportunity for me and all Christians, to reevaluate how well we are living Christian generosity. As you already know, almsgiving is one of the three traditional spiritual practices of Lent. The other two are fasting and prayer. These are the practices which both scripture and tradition offer to us as means for growing in the life of grace.
There are many places where we can express this spirit of Christian generosity. In our own community we have various groups carrying for those in need, food banks, warming shelters, Catholic Charities and more. These are all wonderful opportunities to exercise our Christian generosity.
In addition to these, there are broader outreach opportunities, like supporting Catholic Relief Services through the Lenten Rice Bowl which we have available at the entrance of our Churches.
There is also the important needs and mission of the Catholic Church throughout our Diocese. This is supported by our Annual Catholic Appeal.
Through the Appeal we support the work and ministry of one of the successor’s of the Apostles, our shepherd Bishop Daly. It helps him in forming the next generation of priests who will bring our parishes’ children the Body and Blood of Christ. It supports his outreach to youth and Catholic Schools, including our own. By it he fosters ministry to those in prison.
Many of our children eventually go to our local colleges. The Appeal provides for the presence and ministry of a priest at Eastern Washington and Washington State University. Many of you remember Fr. Luke Tomson who served in our parishes and at our Catholic schools. Your generosity is what makes it possible for him to minister to the young men and women on campus at WSU.
The Appeal also is used to support priests who have long served our parish communities, like Fr. Mike Savelesky who just recently retired after 42 years of ministry.
There are many and various needs that are supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal. This Lent, as part of our exercise of Christian generosity, I ask every family to make a pledge to support the bishop in his service to the Church in Eastern Washington. The support of our Diocese is no the work of a small group of individuals or parishes, but of all the faithful. When we pledge to the ACA, we acknowledge that we, as Catholics, belong to something greater than our local community. We belong to that great body of faithful, united throughout the world- the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. God bless!