Is it more noble to act virtuously for its own sake–as opposed to doing it for a reward?
Not sure. But God does not hesitate to promise a reward.
Give secretly, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Pray secretly, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Fast secretly, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Maybe it is not noble. But we have the right to regard our humble, hidden acts of charity, religion, and penance as deposits. When we give something away quietly, we actually pay the sum to heaven. When we pray, we pay heaven. When we make a sacrifice, it’s a payment.
Maybe it doesn’t seem so noble to think this way, but it is what the Word of God says.
And these secret deposits in the heavenly bank—we do not make them out of noble selflessness. To the contrary: Christ says that we can and should expect full repayment.
God deals justly with us. We pay earthly cash by giving things away, we receive heavenly cash in return. We say earthly prayers humbly and quietly, we receive heavenly praise and glory in return. We renounce earthly goods without letting anyone know, we receive heavenly goods in the sight of angels.
Lent seems like a pretty good deal. Too good to pass up. A chance for some easy money. Make a few quiet deposits now, and the return on the investment…big-time profit.