By Fr. Albert DiUlio, SJ
Christmas 2015….It is hard to believe we are here again. It has been a most eventful year, with our lives in the Spirit unfolding in many ways.
This year, I celebrated 50 years in this least Society of Jesus. It has been a great time for reflection and gratitude, time for joy and celebration, and a special time of grace, as I have taken opportunities to remember the many special people, times, work, and travel that have filled my life. These 50 years have taken me many places, with many tasks. In them, my time has been a joy that I trust has been well spent. I have met myriads of people who have become part of my life. They are truly what has remained constant over these 50 years, sharing life, prayer, victories, losses, sorrows, pain, and triumph. My friends' and families' lives have become part of my own life, my spirit.
How do we contemplate the lives we have led? How do we share what has meaning for us? Perhaps it is that we simply do not count the wins and losses or even the pain and gain, but we deliberately choose to simply live life fully as the person we have become. In religious life, there is often a great stress on changing and improving something so we can become better in some way. But my experience tells me that faithfully, thoughtfully, and simply living our lives will make us more deeply human. That is a most worthy goal, deeply spiritual, and fully Christian. Scripture tells us that life is a journey and prayer, and contemplation shows us the way. In contemplation, we come to acknowledge that truth ever more deeply, for we never arrive anywhere with finality — save heaven, we trust. But we do we press on.
The joy of my life is the journey, the trip, the way. Often it is what we find along the way that makes us stop, think, care, and share. Then, we know that it is the journey that is life-giving and something to be cherished, nourished, and made a deep part of our lives. More than anything else, I believe that journey is the challenge of life…to be faithfully and honestly who we are and who we seek to be.
As I said, many people have been with me on this long and challenging journey of faith, life, and love. It is a journey not yet complete.
This Christmas season, let’s celebrate all the wonderful things in our lives. Rejoice in the love and care you have shared with others, and recall how you have joined in their sorrows and triumphs. Find great peace in those little moments of life that perhaps changed a life, if even for a moment. We all have such shining moments in our lives. If, as I believe, life is a journey and not a destination, then we can be joyful, be happy, and continue to share all that we are and want to be with others. I find that is the key to joy: to be with others and let them be with you in all their joys and sorrows, pains, and gains. Life thus flourishes.
A very Merry Christmas and spectacular New Year to all of you, to your loves and dreams, and the people in your lives.