God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them (Gn 1:27).
After eternal life, life itself is a great and magnificent gift. God manifests his benevolence and nourishes us with the fruit of the earth. He claims us and he builds up our spirit—our very soul and life itself—with his Word and the great Sacraments of the Church.
But, it is so unfortunate that people have lost the sense of life itself. Just consider certain TV commercials and print ads that tout shallow appeals to lure you away from the real gift of life:
“My face lift has given me a new life.”
“That (exercise machine) gave me my life back. WOW! I look and feel sexy again.”
“This (beauty lotion) makes me look younger and alive again.”
Surely there is nothing inherently evil about face lifts, exercise and looking younger. However, if you define life itself by how you feel or look, you have missed the point.
Life is a precious gift from God. He willed us into existence. He wants us to live life fully—and he wants us to spend our lives as the precious gift it is.
I say “spend our lives” purposefully. You will remember the parable of the talents (Mt 25:13-40). The master of the house gave three servants various amounts of money, each according to his abilities. The first and second servants doubled the money to be returned to the master. However, the third, in fear of the master, buried his share of the money and earned no more for his master. The master condemned him as fruitless, unworthy and cast him out of his service.
Too often, we think of the many things God has given us—food, shelter, family and income. We may even thank God for the gift of Jesus, his Church and the Sacraments.
But, what about life itself—how do you, how do I, spend the life God has given us?
- Do I ignore life itself and concentrate on the peripheral things in life?
- Or, do I see life as a wonderful gift that I am to spend by helping others to live more fully, to help them overcome self-abasement, the oppression of others or the pains of loneliness, hunger and alienation?
- Do I “spend” my life in the worship of God, in making this world a safer place, in keeping God close every moment of our lives?
After all, this life we live now is only a brief preamble
which determines how we are to live forever.