Saturday, February 2, 2013
Give and Take of Life
The expression "give" is missing from the internal dictionary of many of our contemporaries; only the word 'take' seems to be there, says the columnist writing on spirituality for the Catholic Times. From parents, from nature, from neighbors, from the Creator we are content to take and are not accustomed to the practice of giving. Isn't this, the columnist asks, the reason our marriages, society, culture, politics have problems?
Even when it comes to 'love', a word that should mean to give in the highest sense, our internal dictionary is content to use it most often to describe the taking and receiving of pleasure from a sexual attraction. But it's the give and take of life that is the way of providence, he says, the way we have been made and the way we are to grow.
Many of us have forgotten this principle, which, regrettably, can also be seen, he says, in the lives of religious and priests, when receiving takes precedence over giving. A sign, he asserts, that the formation was not properly done.
Giving includes many things besides material things. It can be as simple as a smile on our face, and a bowing of our head in greeting one another. We have forgotten, he says, this simple act of giving, and the ease it brings when we acknowledge the presence of others.
Close our eyes, he tells us, and reflect on the ways we can give. Think of the many things the sun, the trees and all earthly things continue to give us. Are we not to return this giving? he asks. It is when we give that we become beautiful. An easy way to undergo a facial transformation, he says.
He has read many books on philosophy and theology, and other books of eminent thinkers. And he has carried away the same message from all of them: We have been created beautiful; our eyes were made to see the beauty of creation; our minds to have beautiful thoughts; our mouths to say beautiful things; and our hands and feet to do beautiful things.
All that we encounter during the day enables us to come in contact with God. God has made the night for us to rid ourselves, he says, of the noise of the day. Do we use the quiet of the night to make contact with God? he wonders. The give and take of everything in the universe should allow us, as we joyfully join this give and take, to find our rightful place in God, making our lives and the lives of others more beautiful.