Written By: Victoria Sechrist
Did you know that there is a virtue that means you use your wealth to do great things?
It’s called magnificence.
I’m sure you’re familiar with that word, but it’s actually considered a sub-virtue under the larger cardinal virtue of fortitude, which is defined as being willing to engage in arduous tasks.
(Father Chad Ripperger is an expert on this topic, so if you’d like to learn more about the sub-virtues of the four cardinal virtues, you can do that here: https://sensusfidelium.us/four-cardinal-virtues-lecture-series-fr-ripperger/)
Compass Catholic defines your wealth as your time, talent, and treasures. Therefore, being magnificent means using your time, talent, and treasure to do great things.
Any time is a great time to cultivate this virtue, but Lent can feel especially timely since one of the three pillars of Lent is almsgiving. The other two are prayer and fasting. (Now of course, prayer and fasting are equally important, but since Compass Catholic is on a mission to build financial disciples, we’re just going to focus on almsgiving here.)
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says almsgiving involves “donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity.”
A follow-up question is often: How much? How much money should I give? How much food should I donate?
I’m afraid I can’t tell you, and neither can anyone else. There is no blanket answer of 10%, as used to be the case in the Old Testament. There’s no magic formula.
Corny as it may sound, the answer lies in your heart. God has given us all free will to decide how much to give of our time, talent, and money. He wants us to give out of love and not out of obligation. That said, even donations given out of obligation can bear beautiful fruit!
C.S. Lewis, perhaps says it best in his book Mere Christianity: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
Remember, generosity goes beyond just giving money. If you’re in a season of lack, perhaps God is calling you to give your gifts (talent) or your time. We all have something to bring to the proverbial table. Don’t underestimate your contribution!
How can you become more magnificent this Lent?