REFLECTION: Life as an offering PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 14:35

Yes, our life ought to be spent as an offering. It has to be lived as a gift, because it is first of all a gift also from God to us. This is a fundamental attitude to develop toward our life, because absent that, we would have a gravely handicapped understanding of life, prone to all sorts of anomalies.

Our life, of course, can be described in many, endless ways. It’s a shared life with God. It’s a life in the Spirit, a life of grace. It’s a participation in the intimate trinitarian life of God. But we have to remember that we have been created in love and for love, and that love should be the basic governing principle of our life.

In other words, our life has to mirror the life of God himself, whose image and likeness we are. Since God is love, is self-giving, then we too have to live in love and in self-giving.

That means giving ourselves to God and to others. That’s what an offering is, what a gift is. It has to be given away freely, because as our Christian faith tells us, it’s when we give that we receive, when we lose that we win, when we suffer that we gain in glory.

It’s a mysterious law, spiritual and supernatural, that goes way beyond our natural understanding of things, or our common sense. But that’s how it is. We need to live by that law, because outside of it, we expose ourselves to danger, to harm and to our own destruction.

In fact, given the temper of the times when we are almost systematically subjected to pressures and challenges, to moments of thrill and sadness, we need to have a very clear grasp of this basic law, otherwise we would just be lost.

We need to do everything to realize this truth, and to keep it vibrating in us individually, personally, and then socially and culturally. It’s undeniable that many of us are still ignorant of this law. Many of us are chasing the wrong things in life, thinking that these are what would give us true joy, peace and fulfillment.

Crucial in attaining this ideal is the education of our emotions and passions or our whole world of affectivity, which is a very complex one, because if not properly trained, it usually gets us disorbited from this law of loving, of offering, of self-giving. It has the uncanny tendency to get lost in its highs and lows.

Being an integral part of our nature, our emotions and passions are important to us. We have to disabuse ourselves from the idea, common especially in the past among the Stoics and even now among the Buddhists, that our proper development would consist in the suppression of our feelings and desires.

But they have to be properly formed. And the ultimately criterion to assess their usefulness is when they conform and reinforce our dignity as persons made in the image and likeness of God, and as children of God.

This means that we have to train our feelings and emotions to behave according to the dynamics of love, of an offering, of a gift, of self-giving. We need to ground them to a deeper foundation and orient them to a higher goal, since they they tend to remain in the here and now and in the superficial and narrow view of things.
This means that, first of all, we have to understand that they need to be educated. They just cannot be left on their own, to act spontaneously according to the law of the flesh and ignoring the law of the spirit and the supernatural dimension of our life.

This means that we have to be on guard against the many elements and factors, social and cultural, that tend to desensitize us from this need. More than that, we need to be pro-active in deliberately cultivating our affective powers according to this law of real love.

So, everyday, and many times during the day, we need to renew our acts of offering, our acts of love, since many are the things that can deviate us from the road proper to us. Let’s see to it that before we start our work, our plans, our projects, etc., we offer it to God and to others.

Then while doing it and even after doing it, we should renew these acts of offering and love many times. This way we effectively avoid being held captive by the selfish and narrow-minded tendencies of our feelings. --FR. ROY CIMAGALA