Friday, May 12, 2017
new perspective on our entire lives
Today in A Year with the Church Fathers, we hear from St Gregory Nazianzen. He does the best job I've ever read of putting the grief of death into perspective.
He reminds his readers that our separation from our lost loved ones is very brief, and the time we get to love them is very long. That we should focus on the gift of the love we got to experience, since not everyone gets to enjoy such a lavish gift, and not focus on the pain of losing them. "We have endured a great loss, because we have enjoyed a great privilege."
To love another person (with eros love, especially) and to be loved by them is a great gift. Not everyone in this life gets to experience that. If you do, and then you lose them (and who can keep them?) then, says St Gregory, cherish the gift. Remember the love you shared, and look forward to the love you will share again.
This is great advice, and it doesn't just apply to losing loved ones in death. It really applies to all of our lives, doesn't it? Most all of us have enjoyed good health, plenty of food and drink, and more beauty than we could absorb with all of our senses during our lifetime. If our health fails, as it most probably will eventually, and if we become limited in what we can eat or drink (as some of us have begun experiencing as we grow older), and if we can't use our senses as fully as we once could... should we shake our fist at God for our limitations? Or perhaps a wiser, healthier idea is to thank Him for the abilities we once had and which we look forward to having again in even fuller measure one day soon.
God, thank You for Your immeasurable gifts. Please help us be grateful.