by Bob Dixon
Director of the Office for Mission Advancement
There’s an old expression, “What do you give the person who has everything?”
While tempted to think this may apply only to very few people, when we think about it, a good number of us have what we need and even most of what we desire. We work hard to care for those around us. We accomplish our very best at work, at play, in our families and in our spiritual lives. And while we are at it we gather a few things around us. At the end of the day, we also generously support those people and places in which we believe. We do all of this out of Caritas, rooted in our deep belief Deus Caritas est, “God is Love.”
Those who have this sort of “everything,” you and I, yearn deeply in our humanity to move from just doing things to contributing to something truly important and transformative. Indeed, when we become part of something transformative we ourselves are converted in ways our own success and wealth – no matter how large or small – cannot fulfill. Oddly, we are changed for the better by giving things away.
Of course it is not unusual that we would find this difficult and hard to comprehend. That said, this is as much our duty as is anything else we undertake. When we avoid giving, we withhold from ourselves that unique, inspired, God-given opportunity we have to participate in building God’s kingdom in ways only each of us can.
Noted theologian and priest Fr. Henri Nouwen once said in his groundbreaking piece, The Spirituality Of Fundraising, “Fund-raising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission…Fund-raising is always a call to conversion.”
He further says, “We are inviting people into a new way of relating to their resources. By giving people a spiritual vision, we want them to experience that they will in fact benefit by making their resources available to us. We truly believe that if their gift is good only for us who receive, it is not fund-raising in the spiritual sense. Fund-raising from the point of view of the gospel says to people: ‘I will take your money and invest it in this vision only if it is good for your spiritual journey, only if it is good for your spiritual health.’ In other words, we are calling them to an experience of conversion: You won’t become poorer, you will become richer by giving… Those who need money and those who can give money meet on the common ground of God’s love.”
So, to you who have been generous in your support of the many Ministries of the Dominican Central Province, thank you and welcome. Welcome to our life of prayer, study, community and preaching. Welcome to the transformative power of God’s love. Welcome to the common ground of God’s love, where Deus Caritas est.
We are truly grateful.
Bob Dixon has served the Central Province since 2012. Prior to that, he spent 20 years in a variety of leadership roles in Catholic mission advancement, including over 11 years at Fenwick High School, our Dominican Catholic College Preparatory School and ministry of the Central Province in Oak Park, Illinois.