That’s what Christ wants us to be. “Without cost you have received. Without cost you are to give.” (Mt 10,8)
These words simply tell us that we have to give ourselves to others as generously as God has given himself to us. We have to learn how to give ourselves as a generous gift to others in the same way that God has given himself as a generous gift to us.
If we are truly followers of Christ, then whatever we give to others, especially to God, is done without counting the cost. It should purely be gratuitous, given as a gift.
If our understanding of giving is that of a gift, we would know that what we give is not just some objects, but rather our own selves. Our giving ourselves as a gift to others then becomes the purest expression of love.
We have to do everything so that our self-giving to others conform to this ideal of being a gift—given without counting the cost and with the understanding that what we are giving is not just some objects, but our own selves.
If we truly love God and everybody else, with a love that is nothing less than a participation of the love God has for us and as commanded by Christ to us, then we will never say enough in our self-giving.
Even if such attitude would already seem to be going beyond common sense, our reason and other human and worldly standards that we usually use to measure our love, we would still go on giving ourselves, never saying enough. We would just give and give, even if we seem to consume ourselves to death.
This is, of course, an overwhelming prospect, but that is what true love is. It is some kind of madness that knows no limits. It is given without measure, without cost, without any calculation.
And even if such total self-giving is not reciprocated, it would still go on loving. It is purely gratuitous. Even more, even if it is not only unreciprocated but is also violently resisted and rejected, it would still go on loving.
That’s simply because where there is true love, there will always be generosity. The two cannot be separated. It’s in the very essence of love to give oneself without measure, without calculation, without expecting any return. It just gives and gives, even if along the way it encounters difficulties, rejection, suffering. It embraces them, not flee from them. By its nature, it is given gratuitously.
Love engenders generosity and its relatives: magnanimity, magnificence, compassion, patience, pity, etc. This is the language of love, the currencies it uses. It thinks big, even if the matter involved is small according to human standards. In fact, it’s love that makes small, ordinary things big and special.
We need to develop a keen sense of generosity and self-giving that is also a result of detachment. Let’s never forget that whatever we have comes from God who wants us to work for the common good. Thus, we hear St. Paul saying, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4,7)
We have been reminded of this need to cultivate generosity in the gospel. “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions,” Christ said. (Lk 12,15)*