Friday, May 26, 2023

“They Grow Up Fast”—Family Life (& All of Life) is “Sacrifice”

This is from a Facebook post on May 26, 2009. If you are as old as I am, you think “2009 … wow, that was fourteen YEARS ago?!” But, in fact, a lot has changed since 2009. These faces have certainly changed!!

They have changed, and we have changed. The noise level in the house has changed into a kind of “silence” that Eileen and I are still trying to “get used to.” Four of these kids are adults now (and two of them are already married!), and each one of them has a unique personality and vocation. Each one also has the fragility of the human condition. Each has their own problems and sufferings too. Life is hard

Don’t envy the people with smiling pictures of their smiling families on social media. Everyone is suffering, everyone is wounded. And human parents who love their children still “worry” about them and suffer-with them, no matter where they are.

The Lord gives us gifts, so that we in turn can give them. We journey toward our destiny through sacrifice, by which the gifts we have been given mature and realize themselves. And along the course of our journey—especially as it approaches its end—we must give everything, or else learn to give by the mysterious process of being divested of everything. Every person is utterly poor at the moment of death. 

It is only through sacrifice that we can “store up treasure in the Kingdom of God” — the ultimate fulfillment that is hard for us to picture to ourselves in this present life. We know “in part” (an often obscure “part”) through faith, hope, and love for the One who has already begun His reign in His Father’s Kingdom, who gives us His Spirit to keep the light of joy and trust burning even in the “darkness” of this giving-everything-away, this losing-ourselves-in-order-to-find-ourselves — in our journey toward that ultimate, transfigured fulfillment of our true selves and of everyone and everything in the unveiled glory of the Mystery who is Infinite Gift and Infinite Love. 

We glimpse all of this now through faith in the testimony that has been handed down to us and the Spirit who dwells in us, who reminds us that sacrifice is not despair, or alienation, or nihilism; sacrifice is love that abandons everything into the embrace of the One who has loved us first. Thus, sacrifice holds fast to hope in the promise of the ultimate meaning and fulfillment of our poor human lives. We know that sacrifice is vindicated, because we follow a Man who is Risen from the dead!