A friend of mine lost his mother this past autumn. He was a good son – truly generous and always there for his mother during the illness preceding her death.
Today, he was so happy that it looked like he was “floating on air.”
So, I said, “What’s up?”
He said he knew that his mom had a small life insurance policy for burial but when he went to cash it in, the insurance company asked how he wanted the payment for the other policy. It was a large policy and he had no knowledge of it. He was able to pay off all of his debts and still had money left over. He showed me the bank receipts for all those debts with balances that had been zeroed out – student loans, cars, credit cards – all gone.
“I had no idea!” What a gift,” he said with tears in his eyes.
My first thought was that “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.” Of course, his mother knew that and she wanted to give him a big gift – the gift of freedom. She liberated him from debt. It was a completely unexpected gift, a gift of great magnitude for him and his family.
This man’s generosity to his mother and the magnitude of her gift to her son brought to my mind the Gospel passage: “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Luke 6:38).
It occurred to me that if paying off physical debt can be so freeing, how much more liberating then is God’s generous and loving offer of freedom of mind, body, and spirit?
He offers to forgive us our debts…all of our sins, he offers to take them. All that weighs on us, he offers to take that too.
Yet, we often box God in. We tend to limit our prayers and requests. Often, when we pray, we don’t want to ask too much of Him. Perhaps we are trying to be polite and “not bother Him too much.” Perhaps we possess magical thinking and don’t want to use up our “three wishes” until we really need them. Sometimes, we think our troubles are so many and so big that we don’t want to “overwhelm” God with them.
Regardless of the thought process though, our misconceptions limit God. When we neglect to pour out our whole hearts to Him – with all of our concerns and all of our problems – we set limits on how much we are willing to receive from Him. He wants to give us “in good measure and overflowing” but we say, “Oh, I’ll just take a little.”
The saints knew well of God’s abundant kindness. St. Teresa of Avila once said, “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.” Likewise, St. Therese of Liseaux said, “To limit your desires and your hopes is to misunderstand God’s infinite goodness.”
Echoing this sentiment, Pope Francis often challenges us not to limit God. He asks, “Am I attached to my things, to my ideas, am I closed (off)? Or am I open to the God of surprises?” (Hom. 10/13/14).
Don’t be bashful with God – don’t be too polite with God. After all, he already knows what’s in our hearts and what we need. Just unload all of your debts at His feet – debts of mind, body and spirit – and then trust that He’s got them.
When we do this, we make room for the abundance of blessings He wants to pour out on us. We open ourselves to the gifts He offers each of us – gifts of peace, love, and joy in all areas of life. And, we open ourselves to the grace of being able to really trust God – to the trust that He’s got us and that He has great things in store for each of us.
We say “Yes!” to the “God of Surprises.”
Pope Francis has declared the coming year to be an “Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.” Throughout the world, in each diocese, a special door of a church will be opened welcoming people back to the Church and the sacraments. With this declaration, Pope Francis reminds us of everything that God wants to offer us – spiritual debt forgiveness, overflowing love, and abundant blessings. For more information click on the following link: