In the days of the Temple at Jerusalem, a number of different kinds of sacrifices were offered to God by way of worship, either in the name of the whole nation, or by individuals. Each morning and evening, a lamb was offered; four of them on the Sabbath. Individuals brought all sorts of things: bread made of fine flour, wine made from the best grapes; the first sheaves of wheat of the spring and fall harvests; good fruit from the donor’s fruit trees, doves, etc.
The book of Sirach poetically compares our good deeds to fine offerings to God. “To keep the law is a great offering . . . he who observes the commandments sacrifices a peace offering . . . in works of charity one offers fine flour . . . when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise.”
Then Sirach goes on to say, “With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as he has given to you: GENEROUSLY, according to your means.” Heaven knows God is generous with us in many ways, and our Lord gave his very life and the last drop of his blood for us. How can we be stingy with him?
This reminds me of a passage in the autobiography of the Little Flower. She recalls that one of the nuns in the monastery seemed to be depressed and sad, and Therese tried to think of a way to cheer her up. She couldn’t think of anything that she could give her, but nonetheless she wanted to show in some way her concern and support. So that night, as the nuns were going to their cells to bed after the last prayer of the day, Saint Therese waited by her own door for the other sister to come by, and then she smiled at her as warmly, as encouragingly, and lovingly as she could. I hope that that smile of the young saint made the older woman feel better. I can assure you, it was very pleasing to God. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.