As we prepare for the holidays, I am reminded of our Benedictine value to minister out of our scarcity or need rather than our surplus. As a child, my favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. The kitchen in our home was the center of warmth and joy. Our home was filled with the aromas of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pies. After Thanksgiving we began preparing for Christmas. Again, my memories are of cleaning, baking, setting up the Christmas tree and gift giving. These are wonderful memories that I still hold close to my heart and cherish. It was a time and season of preparation, family and worship. But for many people today, I am aware that this is not their story. There are many children living with alcohol abuse, poverty and loneliness. There are many single parents struggling to provide the necessities of daily life. Many people are simply waiting for the holidays to end.
This year during the holidays let us find a way to “give out of our need not out of our surplus”. One of the most challenging ways of doing that for me is to give of my spirit,my warmth, my smile, my ear, my care and my time for others. I invite you into this challenge of “giving out of your scarcity”. How is God calling us to give to those who struggle through the holidays? One suggestion might be to invite someone to share a meal at your table. Another is to maybe spend less money on gifts and more on a program like “Heifer International”. This program provides animals to families who live in poverty-stricken areas of the world. May we be like the widow, who gave her last coin for the sake of the Kingdom.
Sister Clare Carr, OSB
(The scripture story of the widow who gave her last coin can be found in Mark 12:38-44)