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The gift of life
I recently celebrated my 59th birthday which means, of course, that I have entered my 60th year. This has made me wonder where the intervening years have gone; years which seem to have passed so quickly.
One of the quotations which has meant a lot to me down these years comes from the work of the late American poet Mary Oliver. It is this: ‘Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’
Having entered my 60th year, I spent a little time wondering what this might mean. I came to the conclusion that the challenge it gives me is to recognise that life is a gift, and that every moment is precious and should be lived to the full in whatever way that can be. I realised that each day I had to focus on what really matters and decide what to with my one wild and precious life.
I realised that I had to be more open to God and less concerned about what others thought of me. I sensed the challenge, scary though it is, to be free enough to be a voice – as much as I can – for the poor and the broken and the needy. And I recognised the invitation to let go of much that I carry, and to learn to laugh and live in the moment.
Another quotation to reflect on is from the Indian Sufi mystic, Sai Baba, who said: ‘Life is a song, sing it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realise it. Life is a sacrifice, offer it. Life is love, enjoy it.’
It is another challenge to really experience life to the full, to discover who we are and what life is about. I think that the Gospel is primarily God’s way of enabling me to understand what it means to be alive.
Salvation isn’t just about what happens to us in the future. It’s not just about saving our souls. We’re not just put on this earth to somehow endure it for the future, grace-filled life that happens after we die. We’re not just put here so that we can earn our way into heaven. This is our one wild and precious life so what are we going to do with it today?
Father Chris Thomas