This should be the attitude in our self-giving. It has to be done without counting the cost, without expecting any reward. We should not worry about anything, because God knows everything and gives us everything that we need. And he cannot be outdone in generosity. The more we give of ourselves, the more he will reward us.
We just have to do our self-giving very freely. As Christ himself told his apostles, “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Mt 10, 8) And the first one to live by this principle is Christ himself. He gave himself freely to us, including his own life. He did not mind the sacrifices, the insults and mistreatment he underwent.
This is what true love is. It is a total self-giving. But the mysterious part of it is that it actually generates more love and self-giving in others. It inspires others to give themselves in the way of true love. That is why true love has its own reward. It has the dynamic of being repaid also with love.
We should always be encouraged to give ourselves to others gratuitously without strings attached, without conditions. Even if instead of being reciprocated properly and requited, our love is misunderstood and rejected, we just have to go on loving. The only reason for loving is because that is what true love is. It is this love that is the real essence of God, of whom we are his image and likeness.
Loving in this way can only mean giving all the glory to God. We have to be careful because we always have the tendency to give glory to ourselves, if not totally then at least partially. Our motto should be “Deo omnis gloria,” all the glory to God.
We should not worry about our own glorification because God will take care of it. This is what St. Paul said in this regard: “For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…And those he predestined he also called. Those he called he also justified. Those he justified he also glorified…If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8, 29-31)
What a consoling thought, these words of St. Paul are! This way of loving, of giving ourselves to others without counting the cost and without expecting any return, is what would identify us with God, with Christ. This is how Christ behaved.
We have to learn to give ourselves to others and to do good without attracting attention. We have to learn the art of passing unnoticed. Whenever Christ performed his miracles, he would always tell the beneficiaries not to announce to the public what he did to them. Of course, the beneficiaries could not help but spread the word around. But we should follow the example of Christ.
He even taught it explicitly. “When you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Mt 6, 2-4)
We have to do everything to fight against our tendency to show off our goodness and generosity. We can even do that in a very subtle way, which is really very devious and corrupting to our own selves. We really have to discipline ourselves to pass unnoticed while doing a lot of good.
There is always need for continually rectifying our intentions and finding practical ways so that our good deeds are solely motivated by love of God which is the proper way to love our neighbor. Otherwise, it would just be fake love!/WDJ