October 13, 2015
"But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” (Luke 11:41)
Gospel for Ash Wednesday:
"When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you." (Matthew 6:1-4)
I've written about this before, but it struck me again in today's Gospel--when's the last time we did a good work privately? These days we're hardly ever "alone." Even when we're by ourselves we have the internet on our phones, a million different people to compare ourselves to, plenty of places to overshare. At that point it's easy to lose sight of our initial motivations because feedback can be so appealing.
That's part of the Christian genius of Pier Giorgio--that he did all of his good works in secret, even going by his middle name so that it would be tougher for people to figure out to whom to give the credit. The great thing about such secrecy is that it eliminates so many temptations to pride. It also keeps us from judging our neighbor, who may be doing unacknowledged works of goodness when they're out of the spotlight. Fr. Walter once said in a homily, "I wonder how many people have picked up the slack for me today without mentioning it?"
In Frassati we are blessed to have generous members who give without counting the cost, and we have the power to sustain this community by contributing to it ourselves. I can't tell you the number of times someone else in Frassati has had my back when I've forgotten something or has pitched in to help without my asking. This network of grace prepares us for the life to come, in which our giving and receiving will become union with God, who is the ultimate alms-giver because He has taken mercy on us in our lowliness.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!