Leaving a Permanent Mark
recently learned that permanent markers are not permanent. My nephew gave me this life-changing information. It was the topic of his science fair project this past year. He concluded that from a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to hand sanitizer, a Sharpie’s claim could be forever stricken. After digesting this information, I asked myself, “What is permanent in this world we live?” Buildings will crumble, medals and trophies will tarnish, and money will eventually go to someone else. These things and much more we think are permanent during our stay here on this earth.
This Lent has given me ample time to reflect on the things I do and do not do well. I struggle like Jake with prayer and like Paul with sausage biscuits. Almsgiving is tough for me because I feel that I never can give enough to make a difference. I try to quantify enough. That is where I fail. An elderly patient of mine in a nursing home told me three weeks ago, “Thank you for visiting me today and making me feel important.” That patient may not be there when I go to visit this month. Knowing that I made a 5-minute difference in someone’s life is very humbling especially when 5-minutes is precious to them. At that point, I realized that listening to someone about what is going on in their world and allowing them to feel worth is what we are created to do.
The USCCB defines almsgiving as donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity. This definition combined with my thoughts about what is permanent, I came to this conclusion; the one thing that lives forever is the action of giving so that others might benefit. This is almsgiving. What is incredible is that almsgiving seems to be a part of our culture at Sacred Heart, already. From food baskets to Flood Relief and many things in between, we deliver.
In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Jesus was the ultimate almsgiver. He gave his life. To be like Him, we need to open our eyes and hearts to the needs of others along our way and pray to have the strength like St. Theresa of Calcutta to “give until it hurts.”
Everything above has been modeled for me by my son, a recent Christian Leadership Award recipient. As I recently sat in the pew and watched my son receive his award, I reflected on how Jesus humbled himself when He served others. That life of service eventually ended on the Cross.
As we approach the finish line of Lent, it is important to realize that almsgiving is a vital piece of the puzzle of our faith. When we give to and serve one another, the servant and those lives served change forever. That action of my brothers and sisters leave a permanent mark that cannot be removed with any household cleaning items. Stay sharp through the final weeks of Lent and be permanent in your gifts of almsgiving. May God bless you all! We’re all in this together.