Welcoming life as a gift

However old I am, whatever state my body is in, I try to welcome life as a gift…a gift of God’s love. Isn’t this the goal of our existence?

At 88, I sometimes look back over all the years that have gone by, and I contemplate my life. In those moments I see it as a declaration of God’s unconditional love for me.  In fact, I could have not existed!!!

In the face of the mystery of life, too vast to comprehend, in the face of the sheer gratuitousness of the gift, I want to respond in the same way, full of respect and love. Little by little along the way I’ve tried to adjust to such a love. But it doesn’t happen without a certain amount of falling down and getting back up.

When sickness took over my body, when my body no longer responded the way it used to…I felt that my life was threatened. Step by step, and not without a struggle, I learned to just accept what reality gives me, in a life more circumscribed by limits. It was only by trusting in God’s Love that I managed to take one step at a time, in order to continue my earthly pilgrimage to the end. At the same time, I know that the final realization of my life is not in my hands. It will be given to us, in the next life, thanks to Jesus.

Yes, I am deeply touched by the 30 years Jesus spent in Nazareth, by his life hidden in the heart of the world: 30 years of divine presence, unnoticed and unrecognized. During that time, Jesus’ life was in no way different from that of any other poor person’s. Looking at his life in Nazareth I discover just how much Jesus was a poor man, someone easy to overlook. And that is how God acted on earth! This existence, which had nothing particularly useful about it, nothing efficacious, was pure gift, given with absolutely no conditions or expectations. It’s a mystery too big for our minds to grasp.

When I fix my gaze on this gratuitous love, I think it makes it easier to “breathe” the world. Jesus leads me along this ordinary way, which has no great value. Br. Charles also walked this road with me when he wrote in his meditations: “Jesus teaches me that in my Nazareth life I can do good for others without words, in silence, by the way I live in union with God and try to be good toward every person I meet.”

And yet, this way of daily living is no long tranquil river. My whole life long I’ve asked myself the question: in the end, who is God? At 14 I answered that question differently from the way I do at 88…and I feel like I haven’t reached the end yet. To keep on journeying, without answers, without knowing, is the right thing to do, even if it is demanding…because God is greater than I can conceive!!!

 A little sister trying to live the gift of her life fully, to the end