August 10, Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr
The heavenly mathematics
Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2Cor 9,6-10
When the uncle of the aunt Margherita, Don Giulio Facibeni, whom the church has recently beatified, handed out candies to the orphans of the Madonnina of the Grappa, the organization he founded after the war, his habit was to put his hands into the bag and to distribute it in handfuls, without counting. Sister Giovanna, who knew the number, approached him, pulled him by the sleeve and whispered in his ear: “Two for each one: they are counted”. That day, when at last the bag was empty and everyone had received candies in abundance, Sister Giovanna could not avoid to exclaim: “I do not understand. I had counted, it was two each”. Don Giulio, who was already old and with hunched shoulders, turned slowly and said smiling to her: “Little faith, Sister Giovanna”. If you give generously, the earthly mathematics on which basis two plus two equals four, does not work anymore: it works that one of the heaven, in which two plus two is what the Lord wants. These are two different sciences, we have been taught the first on the benches of the school, we have learned the second from the gospel with the miracles of the multiplication of the loaves and of the fishes. One day to the apostles who, like Sister Giovanna, in celestial mathematics were not good, Jesus, after one repeated explanation asked them: ” Do you still not understand?” (Mk 8,21). When Paul, in the today reading, reminds us “consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully” refers precisely to the difference between the earthly and celestial mathematics. “Each – Paul says – must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. And again: “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness”. For a person like me, who, because of the profession, has always had to apply the earthly mathematics, it was not easy to learn that one heavenly. But fortunately Anna Maria helped me to overcome this difficulty.