By Mark Kurowski
“Well, you said that this was between me and the Holy Spirit. Didn’t you?” said the person who asked to be the anonymous donor of $245,000 to be used in University Ministry. That I did. Now, I marvel.
I marvel because there was a truth told to me twenty years ago by a pastor who was known for raising money in the Churches he served that played out in my conversation with our anonymous donor. I had called the pastor to ask how to raise money for the small parish I was serving. I asked him, “How do you get people to give to the Church? You are known to do a great job of it.” He replied, “I never ask for money, I always ask them to make a commitment to Jesus Christ and show how much he means to them through the giving of everything in their lives. That includes their money.”
How much does God mean to you in your life? Does your relationship with God warrant the giving of everything you can to the religious expression of your choice? If you had it, would it warrant $245,000?
In a society where we value what we get, this is so strange. Most of the time, I see people seeking gold and money, cars and houses, symbols and icons of their greed and riches. Look at our entertainment and our literature, the person who fends for themselves, seeks to protect their own labor as a richness that should not be impeded by those in need, these are the ones who are recognized as the heroes of the story.
Not this story.
When I was learning what I know about advancement from the University of Notre Dame through a Catholic High School where I was development director, I learned that one never asks for money. You ask people to make a dream that God wants to see happen, happen. “People are never so happy as when they give away their money to something that they cannot wait to see happen,” said Dan Reagan, emeritus Vice President of Development at Notre Dame, whose son played with my son on the same Little League team.
This is true. The people I know who are truly happy give things away. The people who are the most miserable: those who think they always need more.
This is Holy Week. The example for us who attend a Catholic University in the Benedictine tradition is Jesus Christ. This Thursday, he went into the Garden of Gethsemane and refused to be selfish, “Not my will but your will be done.” (Luke 22:42). Jesus Christ held nothing back, not even his “right” to say no to God.
Jesus Christ said a holy “yes.” What is your “holy yes?” In what way will you say yes to God to make someone’s life better, a place to worship better, a gift to someone un-expectant better? Whatever it is, give it to God now and do it without asking that your name be heralded like the example of our very generous anonymous donor.
Mark Kurowski is the Director of University Ministry and may be reached at email@example.com or (630) 829-6029.