All of us, every human being, have been blessed by God with the gift of life. And with that gift also comes that inner desire to not only survive, but to want to somehow excel or differentiate ourselves in some way. We long for something more. One way to consider this is the desire for greatness. This is commonly seen in our world as a desire for wealth, prestige, fame or admiration.
If we are programmed, so to speak, to be more or to be great, how could Jesus teach us to be the least, to be a servant, to be a child? Jesus is not teaching us how to be great, but how to be good. Since God is all good, we need to avoid or rid ourselves of anything that is not of God. And all that is not of God is sin. To be the least, a servant, or a child also implies dependency. We are all dependent on God, and when we lose our recognition of that dependency, we also sin.
So how can we be great? The answer is by striving for the good. We all have the gift of life, which is the foundation for all of the other marvelous gifts God provides. We now need to properly use these gifts in our lives in our choosing, our loving and our longing.
God gifts us all with free will and calls us to follow our conscience. We are responsible for our choices, and we need to choose and protect and nurture the gift of life God has given each of us, at every age and every stage. We need to protect the unborn, help the teenager battling an addiction, reach out to the parent suffering from depression and the fragile senior in need of our care. Wherever and whenever life seems to be threatened, we need to come to their defense.
Love prompts us to live for another and for others. Love causes us to respect, to enrich and to nurture another. Love is to fully share oneself with another, truly knowing another and forming this strongest of all bonds in life.
We long for intimacy with God and with one another. We yearn for the best and for happiness in all we do. But with this longing comes restlessness, and it will never end until we discover as St. Augustine did, that our hearts need to rest with the Lord. This longing gives us the strength and the necessary grace to go out of ourselves in search of love and make good choices in our lives based on that love.
October is the month dedicated to the Blessed Mother, who serves as a beautiful example of goodness to model in terms of choices, love and longing. We also honor in October Our Lady’s gift of the rosary. In the rosary we place before us the very mysteries of Jesus’ life: His choices, His love and His desires and longing, seen in His life, death and resurrection. The rosary serves as a powerful spiritual weapon against all that seeks to destroy all that is good in our life.
October is also Respect Life Month. The gift of life has been given to all of us, and every life is important. Share your life, your talents and your gifts for the betterment of God and others. When we respect our life and the lives of others, we will surely be seen as belonging to Christ and demonstrating that life is good.
By Father Stan Moczydlowski, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Whitehall.