Thoughts on Giving

By Melodious Monk

This past week, I started reading Heather King’s book on St. Therese of Lisieux. I find it engaging to read, as I can relate to much of the thoughts and conversations in the writing. In the chapter subtitled, ‘on learning to serve’, I was reading along fascinated by some of the psychological insights quoted from various authors, when one simple sentence about Jesus jarred my reading to a halt. Ms King writes, “In fact, fully living his own life, and giving with no expectation of return, was the way Christ conducted all his relationships.”

I can’t even fathom this type of living. It’s easy to know Christ loves all, and all equally, but this depiction of him practically living out this love as a human, seems almost impossible. It grieves me to realize how much I’m always wanting something back from others.

Even on my best, most-giving days, somewhere inside I’m keeping track, keeping a record of what I’m doing as if I’m saving up points or tickets at an amusement park, hoping for a better prize.  Perhaps letting go of this unnecessary record is part of how Christ intended for our yokes to be easy and our burdens to be light. I put so much unnecessary thought and emotional baggage into relationships. To give, expecting a certain return, is a way of self-protection–but rather than providing safety, it puts a limit on our creative potential. Jesus taught that the measure you give is the measure you will receive. If we give without wanting back, we open ourselves to the possibility of receiving many times more then we ever could hope for.

The Community of Jesus

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About Melodius Monk

I'm 30 years old, and I grew up at the Community of Jesus. My parents moved from Ohio to live at the Community two years before I was born, so with the exception of a few years at college, I’ve lived in the Community my whole life. I became a Novice Brother in 2003, and made my profession as a brother in 2005. Currently I have a pretty varied life as a brother. In addition to daily responsibilities in our liturgies, I cook, sing, play trumpet, and am responsible for various cleaning and maintenance needs in the church building (my favorite jobs is changing the light bulbs at 45 feet!) I also arrange transportation for brothers to various appointments, work on repairing musical instruments, clean the barn, give tours of the church, make the weekly food menu for the Friary, and help out with various other needs as they arise around the Community. Growing up, I was not particularly interested in the religious life, but I met Jesus at an inter-varsity fellowship meeting my second year in college, and that re-directed my life drastically. I feel very fortunate to have found my life’s calling, and the hope for more wholeness is what keeps me on my monastic journey on difficult days.

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