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Don’t You Tell a Single Soul

We humbly implore your mercy, Lord:
protect us in all dangers
through the prayers of the Bishop Saint Nicholas,
that the way of salvation may lie open before us.
Prayer on the Feast of Saint Nicholas

Why is the story of “jolly old” Saint Nicholas so compelling? We’re not certain how many of his legends are factual. Did he really seize the sword of an executioner poised to punish three innocent men? Did he really leave bags of gold for three daughters of a poor man?

Even if legends prove to be thin on facts, they often communicate some truth. In the case of Saint Nicholas, we celebrate the goodness of a bishop who tried to live the gospel message of Matthew 6:1–4: “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Do we love doing good deeds in secret? If I am the only one who bothers to clean the hair out of the bathtub drain, do I rejoice in my anonymity? Nope. The feast of Saint Nicholas just threw down a challenge.

Lord, help me “to labor and not to ask for reward.” (Saint Ignatius of Loyola).

To Ponder: How would your attitude change if your thankless jobs became “secret good deeds”?


Copyright 2016 Grace Mazza Urbanski for The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion.
Reprinted with the kind permission of Ave Maria Press. All rights reserved.

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