The amount of alms donated for the 2004 tsunami

Two years ago, I had this discussion with a friend who was interested in embracing Catholicism.

Talking about Catholic rites and other heaps of stuff led us to the part about donating alms. In Catholicism, nobody else is supposed to know how much alms have you donated every Sunday Mass, in order to receive grace from God only.

It was unfortunate that he trapped me into this segment of conversation below.

S: By the way, is it OK for us to give a donation as small as (SG) 25 cents?

Me: Yep. God’s perfectly fine with that, as long as you’re giving it willingly. It’s much better to donate 25 cents willingly than $100 unwillingly, because God knows our true intent in giving the money.

S: So… How much was the largest amount of alms you have donated?

Me: $10

S: Whoa.. That’s a pretty large amount! When was it?

Me: During the last tsunami period. You know, the Singapore parishes were appealing to us church goers back then to donate more than we usually did. And I was quite touched indeed that I decided to donate $10 instead of the usual coins I donate.

(Note: the largest nominal of Singapore coin is $1)

S: But Toshi.. You’re not supposed to tell me the amount of alms you donate, right? You’ve lost your grace from God, then!

S: (evil grin)

Me: (surprised, realises what he has just done)

Me: Shit! You trapped me into telling!

S: So that $10 you’ve donated was for nothing!

S: (laughs)

Me: (laughs too)

Me: But S, I don’t care that much about that grace from God, honestly.

S: (looks confused)

S: But why?

Me: Well you see, when I donated that $10, the only thought on my mind was to help the suffering people in Aceh and Phuket and Sri Lanka, nothing else. I don’t really care about how much graces I receive from God by donating that. The most important thing in donating religious alms is to help people, you know. Don’t focus too much on graces from God, otherwise your mind would get clouded of the real purpose of donating

S: Whoa.. That’s quite….. um….

T: What?

S: Benevolent of you!

T: *grins* Haha, of course!

On that week of Tsunami aftermaths, the Singapore diocese was able to gather millions of Singapore dollars to donate to the tsunami-stricken areas of Aceh, Phuket, and Sri Lanka. Singaporeans were the most generous when it came to donating stuff, and that’s what we as other Asians should salute of them.

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