Memorial of ST. Lutgard
Scripture Readings: 2 Cor 9:6-11; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18.
I recently read an article concerning a management change in the Rockefeller Foundation, a philanthropic organization. The new administrator, Judith Rodin, wanted to base their activities on a result-oriented approach. She wanted to focus on impact and accountability, rather than just funding “worthwhile” causes. No more contributions of air conditioners to Eskimos or refrigerators to the homeless. This approach sounds very reasonable and sensible. Why throw good money after bad? It is an approach that we unconsciously integrate into our own “philanthropy.” We direct our efforts to areas where we make a difference, where what we do has an impact. We expect some level of recognition or recompense. Otherwise, we turn our faces toward greener fields.
We may not be as overtly exhibitionist as the Gospel’s hypocrites, but the motivation is not so different. We expect recognition and impact, however long delayed. The deeds are fine; they are even “righteous deeds.” But they become infected and contaminated by an egoistic intention which focuses on the visible, on what appears on the human stage and how we appear to ourselves and others. We forget the “greatest treason is doing good things for the wrong reason.” Our obsession with “being right” overclouds any concern with righteousness before God.
There are certainly times in our lives when we find our motivation starves for the energy and support that minimal impact and success can give it. We hear the cry that says “I deserve better” and impatiently writhes in the anonymity, self-displacement, and humility of not being recognized and rewarded. The cry is an invitation to go to your inner room. The invitation is to go into your heart. This inner room is not a cramped and dingy cubicle. It is the place where we discover a centeredness and wholeness which frees us from the need to be center-stage.
From here, we can do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion. We begin to experience that very different economy which draws its energy from God’s own abundance and generosity. God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.
St Lutgard was a woman who wasted no time in centering her life in the availability of Christ’s love for her. She preferred not to learn Latin to “understand” the psalter for the sake of an immediacy and attention to the person of Christ. She was content to live in a French-speaking community without understanding French to be free to experience the communion hearts that others could only, at best, talk about. She did not need recompense or recognition. The love she experienced in her heart was enough. When our heart loves, it is impact enough.