I am always amazed at friends and family that have the genuine gift of hospitality. When I am invited over to these people’s homes, I feel so loved and appreciated and am always in awe of how they seem to be able to joyfully do this each time. What a gift! I struggle with this area, personally, and even felt moved to confess this in the Sacrament of Reconciliation recently. My penance was to begin keeping a point form list, three things a day, of anything for which I am grateful and see it gradually grow into a massive list ranging from relatively benign things to major elements of my life. When the priest gave me this particular penance, I could not see it bearing the fruit of growing generosity as he suggested it may. Yet, slowly but surely, I began to feel an actual shift in this: an area that has been a serious struggle for me my entire life. How could this be?
Scripture tells us that God loves a joyful giver (2 Cor. 9:6-7) and specifically warns us not to give reluctantly or under compulsion. Sadly, that perfectly described most of my past giving. Most people who know me may not know this but it was a real burden in my heart. I wanted to be a cheerful giver but it did not come naturally even though I desired to be different.
How miraculously does our patient Lord work through the sacraments for us? With this penance, I am beginning to enjoy the small acts of generosity I have been able to bestow on others. Seeing their joy and acceptance is becoming part of what Jesus is using to fill me spiritually and I hope to be bringing some light and love to others as well. I highly recommend you begin your own ongoing list and see the change of heart that Jesus may work in your life. Go ahead, its free!