Looking ahead and above
Venerable Father Felix Rougier, founder of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, used to say that the people of Aubernia, his native region in France, worked hard in the fields but were always looking at the ground like the animals instead of looking above, to the heavens, which is the final destiny of every human being.
During this year and throughout my life, God in his mercy has given me many people and experiences for which I am immensely grateful. Without a doubt, some of you have heard me say that each night before I go to bed I feel my heart full of gratitude for what I have lived and learned in that day, but at the same time I have the fervent desire to wake the next day with the hope that it will finally be the day when I let God govern my life and defeat my stupidities, sins and foolish aspirations.
The German Dominican mystic Eckhart Von Hochheim (1260-1328), commonly known as Meister Eckhart, would say that if the only prayer we could offer during our life was to say “Thank you,” that would be enough.
Today let us shout at the top of our lungs, “Thank you!” Let us give thanks to God for inviting us to the banquet of life in 2017; let us give thanks to him because he continues to believe enough in our humanity to build his kingdom in this world; let us give thanks for the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta, model of indiscriminate charity; let us give thanks for those who continue to work for peace in Colombia; let us give thanks for the Christian martyrs in Aleppo, Syria; let us give thanks for all the men and women who work tirelessly to stop the shameful enslavement of human trafficking; let us give thanks to the millions who continue creating awareness that geographical boundaries are only political entities that can and should be changed forever in favor of the human being.
Let us unite our voices in giving thanks for the millions of men and women who persevere in their matrimonial love and give testimony to their children in all circumstances of life. Let us give thanks for all those who spend interminable hours in prayer, accompanying the heart of Jesus and interceding for all the needs of the world. Let us extend our hands in ecstatic gratitude for the gift of the body and blood of Christ which we receive in the Eucharist and which strengthens us to joyfully carry on in this life.
Our gaze must always be directed upward, to heaven, toward God who created our hearts with his divine spark so that they long eternally for the infinite love for which they were created.
Let us hope that each one of us, disciples of Jesus Christ, may always be living voices of the divine love that redeems, heals and strengthens us so that we may work for a just and universal fraternity. Let us continue to long to wake up every morning with the conviction that that day can be the day in which we finally learn to leave behind forever the vanity, greed, lust, anguish, fear, bitterness or resentment that we have carried for so long in our lives. Let us yearn to be corrected and enriched each day by the wisdom that surrounds us that we no longer heed simply because it’s the family we were born into.
Let us seek to pay attention to our heart when it shouts out to us that it doesn’t need anything else to be happy but a little tenderness and companionship so that it can offer the treasures it carries within. Let us fervently desire to live with less excess and accumulation in all its forms. Let us live our lives with simplicity so that others may simply live.
Finally, like Mary, let us desire that God continue making his home in each one of us, and with her let us sing the infinite marvels of his divine love.
Up and forward, brothers and sisters! Let us keep our eyes fixed on the eyes of Jesus.
United in that gaze.
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - January/February 2017
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.Website: www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/auxiliaries.aspx