Chapter 21 » 21.23

Living a full life

Jesus’s question in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye to excess?’ What do ye to excess? How often he showed his approval of extravagant generosity when it arose from a simple and pure impulse of the heart. He defended the act of the woman who broke the alabaster box of precious ointment so that she might pour it over his feet. ‘If thy brother ask of thee thy coat, give him thy cloak also’ – in other words, more than he expects to receive. In his parable of the Prodigal Son, the father does not wait to welcome his son at the door of the house; he runs to meet him, and it is the best robe which he puts on him. It is this excess, this extravagance, which we find in God’s love for us, that for me shows the meaning of the word ‘Grace’.

It is for this grace that we pray; that we, too, may love to excess even though it may appear foolish in the eyes of the world.

Phyllis Richards, 1949

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