Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may receive your help, but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver. – St. John Chrysostom
Helping others is a foundational part of Catholic teaching. It is our obligation and our duty. But, do we ever stop and consider our attitudes and approach when offering that help? Do we offer those in need a sincere smile and make them feel special…as we would desire someone to act if we needed help?? The quote from St. John Chrysostom has been on my mind this week and I have reflected on the numerous opportunities I have had to help others. I would grade myself a C+ and see significant room for improvement. On occasion, I have allowed fatigue, stress, selfishness and my busy schedule to form obstacles to allowing my joy and genuine desire to help others shine through. I own this and am determined to be more mindful of it in my prayers and at Reconciliation.
How about you? When our kids need homework help after a long and tiring day, do they see us at our best or our worst? Do we make a call to the friend in career transition and offer encouragement? Do we cook a meal for our sick neighbor? Do our co-workers feel comfortable coming to us when they are struggling? Do we pray for those in need?
We have countless opportunities during the week to help others and how we respond makes all the difference. To see this is as a burden is to completely miss the point of selfless giving. We should also turn this around and consider how we would like it if we felt others only helped us in our hour of need out of a reluctant sense of duty. Let’s pray that we bring more genuine joy to our opportunities to serve others and remember St. John Chrysostom’s words: “…acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.”