I believe I have been a generous person; although I am sure that there would be some who would think otherwise. I have given out of my blessings and fullness. I have also believed that one cannot give what one does not have. The times I have found myself not giving nor generous enough were the times I was afraid I would run out of things for myself. And yet the real challenge to giving and being generous is to be able to give even when there is nothing or no more to give. Christ praised the widow’s mite over the Pharisee’s largesse. Christ showed us what real and ultimate giving is: stripped of everything he had (his fame, his name, his human dignity and even his last shreds of clothing), he was still able to give fully even in his utter emptiness and nothingness. Can I be generous even when I am nothing and empty?

I have also realized that the most precious thing I can give away are not presents but my presence. Even when I am most empty and am nothing at all, I can still be there for others. Yet, I can also be selfish with my presence. In my spiteful and selfish moments, the first thing I deny others in my presence. God, when asked who He is, said He is Presence.

When I give away what I have, my treasure, I may feel diminished because I lose what I give away. When I share and ‘give away’ my talents or what I can do, I do not lose them but instead multiply them. These talents are even enhanced. And when I have nothing or am empty-handed I can still share and ‘give away’ myself, like finding the time to do good or finding the time to be with a friend or finding the time to serve others. Indeed, there are many instances when it is easier to give away talents and treasure than to find the time to give of myself. In the end, it is only what I have in my heart that I can truly and generously give away.

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