Written by Kathy DeVet
Does it ever bug you at times, like it does me, that after doing a lot of hard work, other people are appreciated and your work is taken for granted?
We’re all familiar with the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32). Usually, I relate to the younger son—the ungrateful one who finally wakes up and returns to the Father to ask forgiveness though he doesn’t deserve it.
Sometimes I have identified with the hardness of heart and self-righteousness of the older son who was angry at his brother’s betrayal of their father and wastrel lifestyle and just couldn’t forgive his brother.
But recently, the words of the Father struck me, “Everything I have is yours.” And here I realized that it’s not just unforgiveness that is the problem for the older son; it’s a lack of generosity. Everything the Father has is his. And he begrudged a fatted calf to his brother.
Our Father gives us everything. And we can begrudge recognition, acclaim, or appreciation to a brother or sister in Christ?
We can get caught up in our own necessities and plans and the needs of those we serve and forget who gives us everything. We can jealously guard our resources and forget to be generous like our God and Father and Creator. We can forget that if we open ourselves to Him, He will fill us to overflowing so that it is His everything that we can share with the people we serve.
St. Faustina wrote in her diary: “Jesus, I thank You for the little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavors, for the hardships of communal life, for the misinterpretation of my intentions, for humiliations at the hand of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans.” (343)
Maybe you can sincerely pray like St. Faustina. Unfortunately, I’m not there yet. But I can pray that God would soften my heart, fill me with His love, give me everything I need to do His will, and trust that He is working to make me more saintly even if I can’t see it.
I can then wish this joy and love and outpouring of grace for everyone, even the least deserving. I can let go of petty slights, lack of recognition, a ruin of my plans, and the obstacles and sufferings I experience. God has much to do in me. But everything He has is mine, if only I don’t refuse it.
Let us pray that we recognize and accept everything the Father has for us, so we can overflow and share that everything with others.