Daily Reflection
August 10th, 1999
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
The Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
Click here to read about St. Lawrence's life.
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
John 12:24-26

If you sow sparingly you will  reap sparingly, and if you sow bountifully you will reap bountifully.
You must give according to what you have inwardly decided; not sadly, not grudgingly,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
God can multiply favors among you so that you may always have enough of everything
and even a surplus for good works.   --2 Corinthians

If you love your  life you will lose it,
but if you hate your life in this world, you will preserve it for life eternal.
If you would serve me, follow me,
for where I am, there will my servant be. -- John 12

It has been said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of faith.  Lawrence's martyrdom surely gave courage and a renewal of faith to an early community of Christians under persecution in Rome.  We know that our spirits are lifted up when we are inspired by the heroic dedication of a friend or loved one.  We sense a hunger on the part of all of us, especially the young, to find heroes, role models, mentors.  The word "martyr" in Greek means "witness."  We moved by people who witness an authentic life of faith.

The source of this power to inspire and give a formative energy to others is the deep desire within each of us for generosity, for generativity - a desire to give our lives, our very selves, in love.  In faith, we know that it is the Spirit of Jesus, given each of us in our baptism, that moves our hearts to love.  When we are touched, in-spired, it is Spirit connecting with Spirit.  The resonance is clear, stirring, inviting, compelling.

The call is so simple.  It is based upon the experience of the ages.  Our life is only really our life when we give it away.  Any desperate attempt to hold on to, preserve, secure, protect, defend, extend, decorate, indulge will be frustrated.  A full life is one that is free.  Really living is really loving.  All our efforts to be religious, to find God, to be with Jesus will be frustrated unless we get ourselves to where Jesus is.  He can't be found in fearful self-absorption, in rigid win-at-all-cost successes, in angry defensive cynicism - except to be there calling us out of these places that take our lives away.  Jesus is wherever we are "servant."

Paul gives us such wonderful advice.  Don't try to be fully alive "sparingly."  Don't try to have a great harvest by sowing just a little here and there.  We can all make an "inward decision" to simply "let go," to be a servant in all we are and do.  We can surrender the fears, laugh at our defenses, put down the tired "scripts" we've learned in the dramas of our lives.  We can let the Spirit of Jesus within us be free to inform, reform, transform our lives.  We can all start with the people nearest us.  To love, to forgive, to listen, to care, to serve.  As the Spirit in our hearts is allowed to kindle a fire within us, we love and give of ourselves in a widening circle.  When our hearts are fully alive, we suffer the compassion of love, whenever any part of the Body of Christ suffers.

Then we become witnesses.  To inspire others.  This is indeed a grace to desire deeply and ask for continuously.

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