How fortunate I am to have been born

Section of Spanish poem "Qué suerte he tenido de nacer" Section of Spanish poem "Qué suerte he tenido de nacer"

The birth of the Lord reminds us how lucky we are to be born

How fortunate I am to have been born
To shake the hand of a friend,
And to stand witness
To the miracle of every daybreak. 

How fortunate I am to have been born,
To have the option of scales,
To weigh defeat and hope,
With the glory and the fear of falling.

How fortunate I am to have been born,
To understand that the honest man and corrupt man
Are equal owners of the universe
Although they have different perspectives.  

How fortunate I am to have been born,
To be silent when the one who knows better speaks,
To learn to listen, that is the key,
If one truly aspires to know.

How fortunate I am to have been born,
And I say it without false triumphalism,
Total victory, that of oneself
Is made concrete in being and not being.

How fortunate I am to have been born,
In order to sing to the people and a rose
And a dog and to love and whatever thing
Sentiment can capture.

I have been so bold as to borrow some verses of one of the many songs of the Argentinian poet Alberto Cortez, whose candor and depth have helped me reflect on the birth par excellence that has given meaning to every other birth, the birth of Jesus our Lord.

I would say: How fortunate! What a blessing! How privileged I am to have been born! Each morning when I pray, I thank God for giving me another opportunity to try to be of service, having learned from my mistakes and certainties of the day before.

How blessed I am to have been born into a Christian environment! That gift has given me the opportunity to contemplate the lives of thousands of women and men who, through 20 centuries of Christianity, have gone to all the corners of the world making lives beautiful in the name of Jesus Christ.

How privileged I have been to discover that God has desired to become human in order to perfect our intelligence in the search for truth and the meaning of our existence. God wished to be born among us so that we might be born anew each day. Jesus said to Nicodemus that we must be “born again,” that we must be “born from above,” that each one of us must be “born of water and Spirit,” that “what is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.” (John 3:3-8)

Every time a human being admits to being in the wrong and with sorrow and remorse begins to amend the damage he has done to others and to himself, he is given a second chance and is born again. Whenever a man or a woman of any race or background advocates for others the dignity, liberty and respect he or she desires for himself or herself, they are being born again.

What a blessing it is to realize that we are born with so much freedom of will that we can use it for evil, for personal gain, for the destruction of all those who do not think or feel as we do or who stand in our way; or we can use it to transform, to forgive, to liberate, to lift up that which is of the flesh and be born again from on high.

How fortunate I am to have been born into this world where you Jesus, my Lord and Savior, have wanted to be born, where you have desired to make your dwelling, your home. With your birth, Jesus, you taught us to see the wonder of being alive, of forming part of your beautiful creation. You caused us to be born again from on high by telling us that we were much more valuable than the birds you feed and the lilies you dress so beautifully. You made us rejoice in the transformation of the world with the sweat of our labor. You compelled us to give a new meaning to suffering when it is offered out of love, when it is like the seed that falls to the earth and dies in order to bear fruit, in order to give life.

How fortunate I am to have been born many years ago; how fortunate I’ve been to be a missionary of your Holy Spirit and to be born every day; what good fortune I will have to be born all the days that you still want to give me in order to understand your birth better, Jesus, and with that understanding help the world to be born again in you so that finally this world may be your kingdom, your dwelling.

How fortunate I am to have been born surrounded by holy men and women who, like Mary, happily believe and bring to life the incarnate love of God.

All creation continues to groan with the pains of childbirth while it awaits your coming, Jesus!

This is an English translation of a column that originally appeared in Spanish in the December 2014 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.