Giving God the Gift of Self

Posted by James Hahn on

When I was a child my parents would give me money to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts for my siblings and for them.  I would take the few dollars given to me and buy some toys for my brothers and some trinkets for my parents.  As I look back I realize that they gifted me the money that I used to purchase a gift for them.  Essentially, they purchased their own gifts but they allowed me to play a part.  They allowed me to use that gift of money along with my own knowledge and creativity to pick out a gift for them.

So it is with God, He gives us the gift of life and all that it contains and asks for nothing in return except the proper use of our talents and the gift of ourselves back to Him.  When I reflect on all that the Lord has given me - health, family, home, food, love, friendship, and so much more - I echo the words of St. Josemaria Escriva, "How little a life is to offer to God."  Or as the Psalmist says, "How can I repay the Lord for all the great good he has done for me!" (Psalm 116:12)

Both Moses and Jesus remind us today that everything we have is a gift, everything.  Our lives are gratuitous gifts from God.  This is an easy lesson when things are going well but a difficult lesson when they are not.  Lord, give us the grace to see your gifts in both the blessings and the crosses.

In the first reading Moses reminds the people of all that God has done for them.  He lists the blessings God has bestowed upon His people and reminds them that no other god in history has done such things.  If you ever doubt the goodness of God, take a sheet of paper and try to list all of His blessing in your life.  This act of gratitude can help you quickly realize "How little a life is to offer to God."

Jesus too puts life in proper perspective, "What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"  What profit indeed!?  If I work to acquire all the riches in the world but don't have love, I lose.  If I have the perfect body and health but don't have faith, I lose.  If I have the admiration of the entire world but have no hope, I lose.

When I was a child my parents would give me money to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts for my siblings and for them.  What if I were to have taken that money and bought things for myself?  What if I had bought them the cheapest thing I could find and kept the rest for myself?  What if I had squandered that money on candy or comic books?  In the end, I would lose.

God has given each of us the wonderful gift of life.  It's up to us how we spend it.  We can spend it on ourselves or on Him.  If we go through life focused only on ourselves, what we can acquire, how we look or at least how we think others perceive us, we will be miserable.  If we spend our life striving to give back to God the gift of ourselves, the gift He gave us, we will be full of joy in this life and the life to come.

Even though it was my parent's money I was spending, I found great joy in giving those gifts to them.  May the Lord give us the grace to offer to Him our gifts with great joy, even our crosses or maybe most especially our crosses for in this gift we most perfectly resemble His Son.

"Christ gives up his life in order to open the way to eternal life for humanity.  However, to win eternal life they too must give up their earthly life.  They must die with Christ in order to rise with him: the life long death of suffering and of daily self-denial and even, if necessary, the bloody death of a martyr for the Gospel of Christ.." - St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

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