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Be full of life

Like human life itself, freedom draws its meaning from love. Indeed, who is the freest?  Someone who selfishly keeps all posibilities open for fear of losing them, or someone who expends himself “firmly resolved” to serve, and thereby finds himself full of life because of the love he has given and received? — Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, July 1, 2007

This quote couldn’t have hit home more dead center for me if it were written for me alone.  Among those who know me I’m renowned for my ability to keep every last option open until the absolute last second.  Sometimes I’m proven right in doing so as events play out differently than one would have expected at an earlier time.  Sometimes, though, I watch perfectly good and even necessary opportunities fly right by because I don’t want to put all my eggs in that one basket.

Granted, some of this behavior is driven by past experiences.  I grew up in a family that very often didn’t have two spare nickels to rub together, though we always, somehow, amazingly made it through intact despite some very difficult times – perhaps Mom should head to Washington to show them how to stretch their income a little.  But back then I also had no idea who this “God” was that people thought they could depend on, which meant relying on yourself and your closest family and that was it.  The whole idea of pouring everything you have, heart, soul and being into one prospect purely on the faith that God would take care of you – yeah, that just doesn’t compute most days.

Then I read about the lives of the saints, like today’s Saint Bartholomew who suffered martyrdom by being skinned alive.  He so completely invested himself in his love for Christ and bringing the only good news that counts to everyone he could that even the prospect of a brutal death like this did not dissuade him from his path.  The distance between my utter wimpishness and his great example of self-giving is more than a little staggering.  Yet at the same time that distance does not need to be crossed all in one step to gain in holiness.  It’s high time I start trusting in God’s grace and His generosity.  Trust, give and be “full of life”!

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