“GIFT” VS. “ENTITLEMENT”

by BCBP Editor

By Roy Calleja, BCBP Quezon City

love grow serveLast January 23, 2015, the Board of Trustees (BOT) and the Management Committee (MANCOM) of the BCBP met in Bacolod City. The meeting was also a Pastoral visit to BCBP Bacolod to support them as they install a new Chapter Head, RJ Ureta.

Service is one the ways to Christian growth. In the talk “Growing In Relationship With The Lord”, Service is one of the 5 spokes of the wheel characterizing the life of a Christian that transmits the Power of the Holy Spirit to our daily lives. And yet Service, unless focused on Jesus, can also block our growth as a Christian. This happens when we become attached to our Service, when we Love the Service of the Lord and not the Lord of the Service as explained beautifully by the late Rohel Plata, former head of Christ’s Youth In Action (CYA). Our attachment to Service reveals always the word I, my ideas, my initiative, my accomplishment, my service, my good work, etc. The Lord Jesus becomes absent. And yet even if the word “I” can be clearly seen in our Service, it is very hard to see by ourselves alone. Others can see it clearly except us.

And yet God reminds us that everything, including Service, is a Gift coming from God and leading towards God. Furthermore, “all things in this world are…. presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily” (What Is Ignatian Spirituality, David L. Fleming SJ). This means that God is in everything created; the Gifts created by God and given to us are meant for us to know God not only as the giver of the Gifts but also His reason for the Gifts, God’s Unconditional Love for us.

As we dwell on this truth more deeply in our lives, gratitude, the memory of the heart that never forgets, grows in us. Together with gratitude comes humility, the realization that we cannot boast of anything because everything is a Gift freely given without strings attached and undeserved (Rms 5:6-8). Love for God grows as our return to God for the Love and the Gifts He has given us.

its all about meThe opposite of Gift is Entitlement. For people serving Christian Community, this means that this Gift of Service from Jesus is an Entitlement, the fact of having a right to the Service. Entitlement makes a person think Service and more importantly the position attached to the Service is owed to them by the community, by life in general and later on by God because of who they are. This leads to an attachment to the Service, to the position of Service and when that person steps down from that service, the attitude of Entitlement eventually leads to a comparison between his Service and that of the new Service Head. This attitude gives rise to a lot of problems in the future and may be harmful to the growth of the community.

“God who loves us, creates us and wants to share life with us forever. Our love response takes shape in our praise and honor and service to the God of our life. All things in this world are also created because of God’s love and they become a context of Gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily” (Spiritual Exercises Principle and Foundation, What is Ignatian Spirituality, David l. Fleming SJ).

Service is our return of love and praise to the God of our lives. Service is also a Gift from God that He can give and take away anytime. Full of gratitude and humility, may we dwell on and acknowledge this truth more deeply in our lives in the BCBP.

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