Every morning, as we wait in the drop-off line at school, my daughter Rose and I share a pack of Belvita breakfast cookies.
It’s usually my breakfast, half of it siphoned off by an already fed (but quickly growing) 3-year-old who is about to have quite a full day in her pre-K classroom. I usually don’t mind sharing.
But lately, Rose began asking if we could bring two packs with us in the morning.
At first, I assumed it was so she could have her own, so I said no. But she kept asking, and then one day, she cleverly sneaked an extra pack into her backpack.
Right as I launched into a lecture about honesty and not sneaking things out of the pantry, Sister Mary Hannah (a Religious Sister of Mercy who teaches at the school) walked past our car and Rose hastily rolled down her window and thrust the extra pack of breakfast bars toward the startled nun.
Sister chuckled, thanked Rose, and took the cookies, walking off with a big smile across her face.
Beaming, Rose turned to me and said, “See, Mom! I just wanted to share with Sister! Because I love her!”
She just wanted to share. Because generosity, at least in the hearts and minds of little children, is the priority. Especially when you love someone.
With all her gumption and strength, Rose was determined to offer something she enjoyed to a religious sister she sees every day and adores.
We are often told many stories about Sister Mary Hannah at dinner. Funny enough, Sister teaches the middle schoolers, and yet Rose only seems to have eyes for her.
She tells us about her fun outfit (her habit), how she’s really good at playing on the monkey bars (I’d pay big money to see a nun running around the playground), and Rose has more than once told us that Sister Mary Hannah is “the best prayer person I’ve ever seen!”
It’s a pure love for this nun that my daughter has, and one that I deeply admire. A love so great, in fact, that she wanted to share some breakfast cookies with her.
And isn’t that what love asks of us? Love asks that we share.
If we truly care for another, valuing them and honoring who they are, acknowledging their dignity and worth, then we must give to them. Give of our time, give of our treasure. Seek to serve them, in whatever small or big way that is needed.
And it took the persistence, and sneakiness, of my daughter wanting to give cookies to a nun that reminded me that I am not called to be stingy or hardhearted to those I love.
In fact, it reminded me that the love I am called to have for every single person is meant to be a generous love, a self-giving love, a love that responds and acts for their good.
It’s a love that doesn’t just ask, “what’s the bare minimum required of me in this moment?” But instead, a love that pours out: to build up, aid and care for others.
We often limit the love we give. We are not abundantly generous. We barely give. We offer leftovers, scraps or what we think we don’t need. On more than one occasion, I’ve thought, “I couldn’t possibly give this or that. … I don’t have enough of it myself.”
And yet, Jesus tells us to give of our first fruits, not the mere leftovers. The widow, who offers her only two coins is more faithful — loves the Lord more! — than the wealthy man who drops in his spare change.
Rose didn’t want to give Sister Mary Hannah a piece of her cookies. She wanted to offer her an entire pack, all for herself. Sister was worth that to her. A whole pack.
And I was the one keeping her from giving her that.
How often have I done that? How often have I held back, from pouring out and pouring into those in need, those with less than me, even those who perhaps just want a chance to be seen, heard and cared for by me?
As we celebrate the Easter season, perhaps we take intentional time to look for ways we can give, even if it means sneaking an extra pack of cookies out of the pantry.
Katie Prejean McGrady is an award-winning author and host of The Katie McGrady Show on Sirius XM. She lives in Louisiana with her husband and daughters.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103