If we are alive, we are in relationship. We were created as social beings by a Trinitarian God, a God in constant relationship with the Son and the Spirit. When speaking about, or defining, a theology of fundraising, one must keep this image in mind. Questions begin to arise. How can I live in this community, in this world, which cries out for alleviation of hunger, of thirst, for a home, a country, and not be touched? Should I close my eyes to these expressions of need, saying that others should attend to them, should I listen to them?
“A prayer that does not lead you to practical action for your brother or sister — the poor, the sick, those in need of help, a brother or sister in difficulty — it is a sterile and incomplete prayer.”
The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founded as a response to the needs of others in 1869 has continued to listen to those needs and to respond. The call of the founder, Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, “Our Lord Jesus Christ seeks relief at your hands,” continues today.
Over the Sisters’ history they have continued to place emphasis on serving those in need and have relied on the assistance of the communities in which they live and from the people they serve. Together all is possible.
In giving to help others are we in relationship? An unselfish kindness and generosity that gives meaning to your life and that sustains and dignifies the lives of others is the basis of the theology of giving and of service.
“Charity is born of the call of a God who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another.”
From this flows a desire to foster a heart of giving and service in our community so that this spirit, too, becomes a defining characteristic in our lives. To that end we believe that it is important to provide opportunities for all to assist those in need and to experience the joy of giving, the joy of restoring dignity to those who have benefited from their giving and concern, in other words to be in relationship.
Instead of being uncomfortable with the task of raising money, we need to embrace it as an essential part of our work and ministry, our being in relationship. Pope Francis reminds us, “A prayer that does not lead you to practical action for your brother or sister — the poor, the sick, those in need of help, a brother or sister in difficulty — it is a sterile and incomplete prayer.”
By Sister Juanita Albracht, CCVI — San Antonio, Texas.