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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Virtues - Part 7

So, seeing now how we are progressing, Gratitude for what we have replaces our Envy of others for what they have.  We experience joy in the present moment, and relative security in our contemplation of the future.

This leads us to the virtue of Generosity.  If all things come from God, then we are free to share with others according to their need and our ability.  If God provides, then He provides for all.  How does He provide?  Through all of us.

Look around you... all of the food you eat and the possessions you have were made by other people, and now they have come to you.  See how this exchange of things seems to work quite effectively.  Yes, God uses others to provide for us, and we are also supposed to be part of this great exchange.  We, too, are called to give to others.

This starts with the exchange of wages for labor, and then money for products, but it goes beyond this.  What do we do when we encounter those in need?  What of those who have fallen on hard times?

If we are content with God's care for us, and we see that what we have is from God rather than simply a limited supply of the world, then we can give.

The insecure person hoards and refuses to share.  When the passion of Greed comes into play, the hoarder will refuse to share even when the other person is suffering and he still has far more than he will ever need.  The greedy person will hold on to what he does not really need even to the harm of others.

The generous person sees what he has and immediately wonders how he can help others.  

Addicts are incapable of acting in a generous manner, as they are turned inward in self-concern and self-obsession.  Though most people struggle with generosity (ask someone who works for a charity how easy it is to raise money), addicts find it nearly impossible.

Generosity is a sign of spiritual progress.  As an addict comes out of his self-imposed isolation, he will seek to be both generous with his money and his time.  Service to others is a large part of generosity.  We are not called simply to give things, but be generous with sharing our selves.

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