The other day, I clicked “submit” as the interwebs whisked away my donation money and transferred it from my bank account to the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters to aid their Ebola relief efforts. Our friend, Deacon Dr. Tim Flanigan is currently in Liberia and we pray for his health and safety regularly.
I felt good for a few minutes, knowing that we had contributed a relatively large sum to his work (objectively, it was a very modest donation– but I felt a little bit like the woman with two coins and that was nice). I basked in the glory of my generosity.
Then I had this sinking feeling…
Sooo… that’s it?
I won’t see that money again. I have no way of knowing who it might help, if anyone at all. I felt generous for a few moments, but then I started to feel down about it, perhaps a little despondent that the best I could do was send a few measly dollars.
…Dr. Tim is the one who is really helping. He and all the medical staff. The people who do something are the real heroes, not me…
Then I realized it was stupid to feel bad that I did something good, but not as good as what other people are doing. Seriously? This again? ugh. God must be so tired of me by now. In fact, He is so tired of me thinking this way that He gave me a teeny, tiny consolation. As I was feeling down, the thought suddenly came to me that perhaps clicking that “submit” button is quite similar to prayer.
When you pray for someone, you are offering up an intangible– it’s not a service or direct contact with the person you’re praying for… the results are often unnoticed or unknown. But it still works. It is still a spiritual work of mercy. Your prayers, once uttered, are whisked away to the Father and the graces are transferred to others as He sees fit. God can work great miracles with a tiny prayer.
Bottom line: don’t ever feel bad for doing something good. Keep doing good. And don’t worry that it’s not good enough.