Charitable Giving from a Catholic Perspective

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This perspective post was provided by Rev. Michael Busch, Chaplain, Ryerson University and Rector, St. Michael’s Cathedral, as part of our faith and giving series. 

How we think about money affects our behaviour and our attitude towards giving. Every time I ask my parishioners for money it can make them anxious and maybe even a little angry. Doing the asking makes me nervous and uneasy. That’s because in today’s culture we are judged by our money and our possessions. What we have, and what we do with what we have, is a very real part of who we are. Money represents our time, it defines our work and it marks the value of our talents. When we are asked to give, our emotions are stirred, we feel as if we are under attack and we become defensive.

Throughout the gospels Jesus warns us that if we are not careful, money would not just be a part of us, it would become all of us. A dollar sign could replace the cross as our symbol of life. The best way to keep this from happening is to consciously and freely share some of our wealth.

We all have our own unique financial circumstances and responsibilities.  We all work to build a retirement fund that will afford us some level of independence and stability. As the dollar drops, our investments fall along with it. Taxes, fuel, and living expenses are all increasing.  We ask ourselves, “How much should I give and how much I should keep?” To answer that question we need to look at what is most important in our lives. What do I put my faith in, the dollar sign or the cross? What is the ultimate goal that directs my life?” I would not ask you to do anything that I would not do. After prayerful discernment I have pledged a monthly amount to the Church. I could argue that I do not have to make any gift, after all I have given my entire life to the church. But the generosity of my parishioners who give so much, makes me question my own generosity and the importance I put on the money I have. It would be easy to just let them carry the responsibility.  But I also need to make a sacrificial gift that puts my love of God and his people first.

The amount of our donation is not important. The true worth of your gift stems from your attitude to money and where it stands in your relationship to God. We have all heard that “Money is the root of all evil.” Psychologically that phrase is very appealing because it lets us off the hook, it allows us to separate our money from our faith. But Jesus warns us it is the love of money that leads to all kinds of evil. It is the overpowering love of money that makes us want to keep more and share less.

In all our giving it is not the amount of the gift that matters it is how much of yourself you give with the gift. Whether we give out of an abundance of wealth or out of extreme poverty, our giving should reflect Jesus’s sacrifice as well as his trust in God to provide what we need. Take a step towards honest Christian stewardship and make your resources part of your faith.

 

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Rev. Michael Busch, Chaplain, Ryerson University and Rector, St. Michael’s Cathedral

Rev. Michael Busch has been an ordained priest for 25 years. He served as a Pastor for a number of parishes for 15 years from Mississauga to Unionville and Richmond Hill before being appointed to the Cathedral as Rector in 2006. He was past Chairman of the Priest’s Seminar Committee, Church’s Council for Theological Education (CCCB), the Allocations Committee of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission. Rev. Busch is currently Chairman of the Archdiocese Building Committee and sits on the Boards of St. Michael’s Choir School and Catholic Cemeteries. In 2008, he was appointed as Chaplain of Ryerson University. As the rector of St. Michael’s Cathedral, he has been overseeing a multi-year restoration project for the historic church, and has been actively engaged in the associated development appeals.

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