Honoring God and giving to others

Our lives should be oriented to the things that are most important. And the thing that is most important, that is guaranteed to make you happy, is to give of yourself.

We forget about that. Because most of the marketing in the entire world is designed around getting you to buy things. But what’s the most important gift you can give to someone else? Is it a bauble, a jewel or a watch? It is love, unencumbered love. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re all searching for: God who is love. That’s why St. Augustine wrote, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

When you fulfill the needs of others, you fulfill your own needs without realizing it. That’s what Jesus Christ, who brought salvation, directs us to do. When a scribe tried to trap him, his answer was: Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Yes, you are supposed to love yourself. And then you’re supposed to love your neighbor that way. How does the other person feel loved and receive healing? We get stuck on the “loving ourselves” part and forget to go out and love our neighbor.

Here’s an example. There’s a husband and wife at a particular parish. They have their own family. And they have a parish family. They send out emails about voting issues, about feast days and holidays, about special deals they see and also news articles to help people see the world from an altruistic perspective. This couple also helps with diaper drives and food drives. They don’t give up their whole life. But their whole life is about giving.

If we go to the source — God’s love — we’ll have plenty of love to give to everyone else. The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of loving your neighbor as yourself. On January 1, we shouldn’t go back to: me, me, me. If we would just stop and reflect on how it was when we were serving others, we’d stay focused on that year-round.

The beauty you get from giving isn’t in the recognition you may get. It’s in knowing that you gave. And if you keep your eyes open and really pay attention to what God is saying, you’ll get recognition in ways you can’t even imagine. It’s not always in the ways you expect. It will be in the ways that God wants to give to you. And it will be amazing!

Larry Smith is the president and CEO of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver. Visit online
at ccdenver.org or call 303-742- 0828 to learn more, volunteer or make a donation.

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.