Reflection by Steve Schaefer, a parishioner
I love the concept Paul communicates to the Galatians’ in today’s second reading – “so that we might receive adoption”.
The idea of being adopted by God has helped me immensely in my ability to love. I imagine the emotional struggles of a boy in an orphanage yearning to be chosen with every prospective visiting parent. I think of the cumulative pain of little girl who has parents, but sadly does not receive their love. Maybe they have none to give?
My childhood was full of many things along with frequent hugs and kisses. It didn’t, unfortunately, include a religious foundation. Looking back and until recently, there was always something missing. It created a spiritual appetite I was unknowingly trying to fill with earthly needs and desires. At one point, I had a buddy tell me, “you can either love the life you live or live the life you love”. It was a tough challenge with no instruction manual or coaching. It was delivered with a Nike "just do it" attitude. He was asking me to change my perspective. It was a switch that was very heavy and took several years to flip.
God’s love was always there, I accepted it at a spiritual retreat. I felt the fullness of God’s love . . . that I was His beloved son . . . that He chose me . . . He wants me . . . He yearns for me to love Him with all my heart. It was only then that I was able to give my love to others, only then that I was able to truly love my life. I’ve been blessed to feel so much of God’s love that my passion for life overflows. I believe that God sent the Spirit of his Son into my heart. As a result, I trust more, I feel more, I take risks, I try new things, I work to not expect too much, I serve where I can and I’ve recently been able to appreciate failure as a chance to grow. I sure stumble and wrestle with life quite a bit, but there is much more “good” than there used to be in my life.
As you make New Year resolutions, I encourage you to include one as a child of God to cry out “Abba, Father!” Try something new, a retreat, serving in your parish or community, praying in solitude . . . the opportunities are endless. Step out of yourself a little more than is comfortable, you will receive and your Father will be very proud of you.
+In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.