Charity will bring blessings

Charity will bring blessings

When the angels declared the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem, wise men popularly referred to as ‘The Three Kings’ set out in search of the baby Jesus who was referred to as ‘The King of Kings’.

Henry van Dyke in his novel ‘The Other Wise Man’ writes of a fourth person named Artaban who sets out to join the other three, carrying precious stones to give the baby.

Artaban stops to help a poor person and so does not catch up with the other three. He stops to help many more people and ends up giving away all his precious stones in charity.

Artaban grows old and poor and his dream of meeting Jesus is shattered. When he reaches Jerusalem, he hears that Jesus, whom he searched for over three decades, is going to be crucified. In a state of brokenness and feeling unable to help, he hears the voice of Jesus, “Do not be brokenhearted Artaban. You have been helping me all your life. When I was hungry, you gave me food. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink. When I was naked you clothed me. When I was a stranger, you took me in.”

Even if you do not fulfil the lofty dreams, goals and targets you set for yourself, you will harvest greater blessings along life’s journey when you stop now and then to help the oppressed.

In each day and each moment, there is an opportunity to do a good deed for someone. John Bunyan writes, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”Blessings of good health, peace and happiness will descend upon you when you sacrifice your dreams for the good of someone less fortunate than you are and when you refrain from oppressing and provide succour to the oppressed.

Prophet Isaiah promises God’s blessings: “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked, to clothe them and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday,” (Isaiah 58:7-10).

A prayer by Saint Ignatius of Loyola is worth reflecting upon: “Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for reward, except to know that I am doing your will.”