“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10 NIV
“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.”
― Hans Urs von Balthasar
I think about my grandma almost every day, even though she’s been gone from this world for over 30 years. Why? She demonstrated what a giver is. Not yap, yap, yap. She modeled it. Every day. She was generous with birthday and Christmas gifts, which were always designed just for me or my sisters. She scraped, saved, used coupons and other sales incentives all year long to give the best gifts. I hope I am a bit like her. The real kicker is that when she would come to our house or we’d go to hers, shopping, watching TV or playing cards, it was just as meaningful as any holiday gift just to be with her. Her gift was unconditional love with hugs, a positive comment or a gentle lesson. Her cooking and baking were pretty award-winning too! I still love her, look up to her, try to love as she loved to this day. Her legacy: love.
Jesus demonstrates love and gift-giving perfectly. You know the adage: Christ loved you so much he stretched his arms this wide for you. Of course, it’s another image of Christ on the Cross. His gift of love and forgiveness along with counsel, are ours every day. What we do with it, that’s our gift to God.
The times I’ve asked, manipulated, begged for answer to prayer seemed to go unanswered. Perhaps it’s the lesson: Do I love the gift or the giver? When I reflect on this, God has already given me more than I could ask for. What is my gift to him? What is your gift to him? That prayer is always answered.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen. St. Francis