The Psalmist asks, “How can I repay the Lord for all God’s goodness to me?” (Ps. 116) The answer, of course, is that we can’t. All we can do is “pay it forward,” in the phrase the movie by the same name made famous. As we know, it means freely giving the gifts others have freely given us, open-handed, without expecting or hoping for a gift in return—not recognition for our generosity, not even a thank you. Paying it forward, like random acts of kindness, sends love, support and encouragement out into a waiting world, to feed many kinds of hunger and heal broken hearts. Maybe the people who receive our gifts—with no strings attached—will pass them on, weaving one more slender, tough strand in the web of life that binds us all together. Of the many gifts of Christmas, this is the most precious: Christ’s unfathomable gift of love, paid forward, through each of us, into the world.
By Mara Faulkner, OSB