Giving

 

I watch with great interest the weekly reports of the Development Office posted on our bulletin board. It gives in some detail what that office brings in week after week. I continue to be touched by the generosity of so many people who dig deeply into their resources to support St. Meinrad Archabbey and its works.

It is romantic to credit community support to the small contributions of many people from their moderate means. The truth is we must also rely on the larger donations of people of means. Motivations of givers interest me. Recently I received a note from a very generous gentleman who gives not only of his means but also of his considerable talent. He remarked:

"While I am grateful for my many blessings, including our friendship, I also realize the importance of sharing these blessings with others... My sentiment is inspired by a quote from St. Gregory the Great from his 6th century commentary on the Gospels--a quote that could have been written just as well for someone like me at the end of the 20th century. 'Nor must we allow the charm of success to seduce us, or we shall be like a foolish traveler who is so distracted by the pleasant meadows through which he is passing that he forgets his destination.' "

In a similar vein I was impressed by the sentiments of William Duke of Aquitaine. I recently came across the document he prepared on the occasion of his providing the funding for the foundation of Cluny in 910, a Benedictine abbey that went on to become a most important Christian center for religion and culture. Among other things in the document, he says:

"...I...while there is yet time to make provision for my salvation, have found it right... to dispose for the good of my soul of some of the temporal possessions which have been bestowed upon me...I would not wish to deserve the reproach in the hour of my death that I had used them only for the needs of my body, but would rather, when my last moment shall take them all from me, give myself the joy of having used a part for my soul... I, William, with my wife Ingelberge, give these things...first for the love of God, then for the soul of my Lord and King Eudes, for the souls of my father and mother, for me and my wife, that is for the salvation of our souls and bodies..." (Joan Evans. Monastic Life at Cluny 910-1157. London, Oxford University Press, 1931, p. 4, 5)

These were the sincere sentiments of a rich man in the 10th century. They may well be the sentiments of persons today who for the salvation of their souls, the glory of God and the support of His Church, consider making a gift, large or small, to support the humble efforts of this Benedictine center of religion and culture in the 20th century.

Copyright 2003 Saint Meinrad Archabbey