A Strange Way to Give

Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS

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“We had nothing to start our lives here. All of this was given to us.”

Djouleyatou Ousman said that. She and her family fled violence in the Central African Republic and arrived in Cameroon. Her story is typical of migrants who flee conflict. Her words are poignant because of her situation—and because they speak for all of us.

All we possess is given to us. God provides.

Yet very rarely does any good thing from God simply appear in our hands. For the most part, God chooses to deliver his gifts through people. He refuses to ostentatiously take credit for his gift giving. Instead, he credits us for faithful service in delivering his gifts.

It’s a strange way to give — allowing others to share in the credit.

Djouleyatou Ousman was given a priceless glimpse of reality—utter dependency. We are sometimes shown the same hard truth. Traumatic events radically alter life plans and force us to recognize our complete reliance on God.

In observing Independence Day, we do not reject that dependency. We celebrate the freedom to choose to respond to God—or not.

At Catholic Relief Services, we are commissioned to serve the poorest of the poor so that they may eventually provide for their families. In effect, we want them to enjoy the same freedom to deliver God’s gifts as we do. That’s the independence we celebrate: the freedom to serve and worship God.

Those who receive your gifts may never know they came from you. They will see only the hands of people you commissioned and enabled.

It is indeed a privilege to serve you by serving our poorest sisters and brothers. Thank you for your good gifts freely given.

Tags: Refugees

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