Sunday, January 31, 2010

Generosity

Generosity will save the world.

You may not think there is enough generosity around to get you through your day, much less save the world. But I know otherwise. The evidence is in, and Exhibit A is you.

I know we were all moved to witness the destruction and need in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti. I know every one of us wanted to be able to do something to help. Being so far away, the one thing that comes most readily is to offer financial assistance. Over the past two weeks, we had two special collections for relief to Haiti. We collected over $10,000 in those collections. Those funds will go directly to Catholic Relief Services.

Fr. DeRosa and I were with Archbishop Wuerl on Monday, and one of the things he spoke about with us was aid to Haiti. First, he said that the Archdiocese sent $100,000 to CRS the day after the quake. Then, he pointed out that CRS has an extraordinarily high efficiency rate on the donations it raises – over 94%.

That means that less than six percent of donations received goes to pay for the organization and administration of the aid; almost all of it goes to the aid itself. So you can take some confidence from knowing that your generous gifts will reach their intended recipients. Not only that, but CRS already had organization and personnel on the ground in Haiti when the quake hit. It was in a good position to bring in the aid fast.

Your generosity might not save everybody, much less undo the damage of the earthquake, but it will help the people of Haiti know that people care, and love them. And that will go a long way.
More locally, this past week we were saddened by the sudden death of the father of one of our young families, Pat Solis. His wife, Ally, and their daughters, Maite and Rakel (6th and 3rd grade, respectively) received an outpouring of support in prayer and practical assistance that was deeply moving.

This is a strong and loving community, and though it cannot take the place of a beloved husband and father, your generosity is already helping them confront and conquer the sadness and fear that naturally come at such a time. I am grateful and confident that they can count on this support and love for the years ahead.

In both of these sad situations, no one of us can by our own actions fix the source of grief, or repair the damage – “make it all better,” as kids like to say. But by generously responding and offering of ourselves in love, people bring life-giving good into a situation where something bad or sad might otherwise overwhelm.

Giving of ourselves, giving of our lives, to give life and light to another, is a participation in the sacrifice of Jesus. When we not only model our actions after His, but unite ourselves to Him in prayer and sacrament, then we bring Christ’s divine life into the lives that we touch. And that is the generosity that will save the world.
Monsignor Smith

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