Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 9:7
I am a convert and received my sacraments in 2010. I was on a spiritual high leading up to and shortly after I converted and our RCIA directors warned us that it would be a long way down if we didn’t stay involved with our parish community. Everyday life got the best of me, and once I didn’t have to show up for our Tuesday night classes or Sunday mass dismissals anymore, I stopped going. The following year, my husband and I decided to wed civilly before our annulments were completed.
We knew, as Catholics, that we should’ve waited to be married in the Church, but we had plans to start a family and had not yet learned how to put God first in our decision making or trust in His timing. God stayed with us, however, because we still continued through the annulment process and had our marriage convalidated in early 2012. At this time, we attended mass recreationally, but not consistently. We had two babies within this time frame and their baptisms were really the only other affiliation we had with our church at this point. I remember being intimidated when showing up for mass because I had easily forgotten the order of the mass, the prayers, and responses.
My husband and I both attended a retreat later that year that ended up being a complete transformation of heart, mind and soul. God brought us back to Him through this beautiful retreat and because of it we have wanted to give back to Him wholeheartedly in any way we could. This started with our desire to put Him in the center of our marriage. He, as designed, became the source of answers for all of our decision making big and small. We sought Our Lord to lead and guide us through life as husband and wife, as parents, as children, as friends, and as employees.
Through our new understanding of giving control to God, it was quickly understood that we are given many gifts from God. The greatest of all of these was His only son who sacrificially died for us. So we, sinners, mere humans with impure thoughts and reckless hearts, could have eternal life. We are also, and less importantly, given the gift of treasure which includes our money, our possessions, and our resources.
Money is often a difficult subject. It’s one of those off-the- table conversation topics like religion and politics. It’s said to be the root of all evil. It’s said that it cannot buy you happiness. So let’s consider what does make you happy? What is the opposite of evil? In those simple questions, you will find a simple answer: Jesus.
Recently, my husband and I needed to gather our cancelled checks from our bank from the years of 2011 to 2013. Although during these years, we were not attending church regularly, there were sporadic tithing checks in the files. The checks were for no more than $5.00 here and there. It was simply all we, at the time, were able to give. Stumbling across these cancelled checks filled my heart. I smiled to know that although we had to do some pretty creative things back then to make it month to month, I still wanted to give back to God and thank Him for what He has done for me.
Since then, we have been abundantly blessed financially due to multiple advances in both of our careers. Jesus shows his love for us daily in the mass. He gives us his body, blood, soul and divinity and touches us through all of the sacraments with holy oils and absolution. Because of this, I am humbled to do my small part by donating monetarily to His church. My husband now sits on our parish’s Financial Council and is learning more about where our financial contributions are most needed.
And it’s not just our parish that seeks financial help- it is also your parish, your diocese, your communities, the ministries within your parish, your local Catholic schools, etc. And it is these organizations who seek to help those most in need as Jesus preached. When contemplating the ultimate gift that God has given to me, it makes my heart happy to give back in any way I can- even when it was only $5.00 here and there.
To Jesus through Mary- TIffany Wulkopf