Letters to Young Girls

28 - The Joy of Giving


écrit

PUBLICATION DATE

13 . 06 . 2024

Rubric

Letters to Young Girls

Author

The Daughters of Mary

La joie de donner

Dear Friend,

This morning, Mathilda’s father is working alone in the garage. This would be a good time for Mathilda to go and talk to him as she hopes to present an idea to him she has been thinking about for a few weeks. She joins him and says: “Dad, Sophie and I would like to do something for the poor this Christmas. If you agree, I thought I could use the money I received from grandma on my birthday, as well as what I’ve accumulated in my piggy bank. I think I should have about $30.00. Sophie also has some money.”

How can one not encourage such an upsurge of charity? The following Saturday, after having obtained the hoped-for permission, Mathilda and Sophie go up and down the aisles at the grocery store. With a mix of seriousness and enthusiasm for the task at hand, they push the cart in which several items are piling up.Cadeau de Noël

In fact, their Christmas project quickly took shape with the good advice of their parents. They finally decided to offer a food basket of useful items to a family in need and even to add to it a gift certificate for the purchase of gas. To be able to get this gift certificate, Mathilda suggested to her mother and father that they not buy her the long scarf she had requested some time ago, but give her its value in money instead. She really liked that scarf which she had seen in a boutique but, after all, she already had one that would do just as well for this year. And when a gift involves a sacrifice, does it not then have greater value?

Branche de sapin

To encourage the girls’ generous initiative, Mathilda’s father promised to double the amount they had pooled together. You can imagine their joy! When Xavier, Sophie’s brother, learned of the two friends’ plans, he hasten to participate in their good deed by discreetly providing them with the address of a sorely-tried family having a hard time paying its bills.

So, with a calculator in hand, to not overspend the amount collected, Mathilda and Sophie consulted each other on the choice of this or that essential item: a loaf of bread, some chicken, some eggs, a bag of carrots, laundry detergent, a box of cookies, and of course, a few little treats. They wanted to give a basket that was useful, while also keeping in mind their possibilities. Mathilda’s mother was not far away from them so that she could give them advice if needed. Once they had gone through the checkout and paid the bill, the girls requested that their food basket be delivered anonymously to the address they handed the delivery person, adding to it a message for a Merry Christmas.

Although Marie-Paule too often found herself without a cent, she always managed to help out other poor families.

One Christmas, for example, she suggested to her children that they not put up a Christmas tree in solidarity with those who are suffering and to look after a neighboring family in need. Everyone happily and enthusiastically participated in the preparation of gifts, surprises and food, and their joy was to witness the happiness of the young children and their parents who were benefiting from this and were deeply moved.

However, Marie-Paule’s generosity wasn’t only expressed at Christmas, for she wrote: “Every human being experiences a profound need to give of himself for something, to rise above himself. It is in giving oneself that one finds true happiness.” (Life of Love, vol. III, chap. 29, pp. 190-191)

Leading up to the feast of Christmas, Mathilda and Sophie heard, in their hearts, the call to give and to give of themselves, and events permitted them to answer it through a good deed in favor of a sorely-tried family.

It is not always possible to do this in this way, but if you too get into the habit of thinking of others, of being attentive to their sufferings and their needs, rising above your selfishness in order to share and help others, you will become a sower of joy and love, and then it will be Christmas every day. As the saying goes, and it’s true: “There’s really more joy in giving than in receiving.” Have you ever experienced this?

That evening, in front of the beautiful manger scene set up in the living room, Mathilda was thinking of the family which, in the course of the afternoon, received the foodstuffs the delivery person brought them on behalf of anonymous donors. She was happy. She felt a great joy over what she and Sophie had done. So, she said to her parents: “I won’t have my scarf, but I think this is my most wonderful Christmas!

Yes, “giving oneself for others brings a consolation that is difficult to describe.”

(Life of Love, vol. I, p. 44)

Couronne de Noël

Best wishes to you and your family for a Christmas of genuine joy!

The Daughters of Mary


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