Do not neglect good deeds and generosity. Hebrews 13:16
My youngest brother, Mark, told some people at our family party that I had my father’s drive and my mother’s heart. The more I thought about it, the more I hoped it’s true.
Both Mark and I certainly do have our father’s drive. Our unofficial motto is, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing!” We are all three “driven” people — a drive to accomplish that probably comes from feelings of not being good enough. “Sometimes the sound of our own wheels drive us crazy,” to paraphrase an old Eagles song. Yes, my brother, Mark, and I share our father’s drive.
Now my younger brother, Gary, is the laid-back one. He’s has the laid-backness of my grandfather, Leo. Even though he works hard and gets it done, he’s patient and deliberate. His part of the Eagles’ song references it’s title: “Take it easy.” He listens more than he talks, but when he does speak he always comes out with some solid common sense.
Gary, Mark and I share my mother’s heart. My mother was always a giver. Nobody ever visited our home without leaving with something, be it homemade jellies, canned fruit or vegetables or fresh produce from our garden or freezer chest.
From my mother, I picked up the habit of always looking for things to give away and the opportunity to give them. Just last week, I gave away three pick-up truck loads of pretty good stuff for a yard sale to benefit a young student at St. Xavier High School, with the surplus going to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
I love to slip money to international students who are here without money and with added pressure to send some home to help their families in need. I have some friends who support me at Christmas in helping some needy international seminarians that I pick out for them — cash for international calling cards for the Africans or maybe cash cards to the Vietnamese for school
The last few years, during mid-summer clearance sales, I have been buying various sizes of $250 woolen winter coats at end of season sales, off the internet, for about $50 with free shipping. I have given them my old cellphones because they need to talk to their families regularly. I try to help with gifts to take to their parents when they go home for a visit. They never ask for help, but I stay tuned to their needs.
Recently, I accidently bought chicken coops for a monastery in Africa with money I really gave them for an ordination/welcome home celebration. The abbot had a higher priority than my party, since they need to sell eggs to make a living in their country of Togo.
Instead of giving expensive gifts to people, things they don’t want or need with money you don’t have this Christmas, why not be more creative and give simply year round?
Father J. Ronald Knott