Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Tribute to a Sister in Christ on Her Birthday

I have a friend -- we've been friends for a long time, since our children were babes -- who is about as true to the definition of achieving what it means to be truly human in this life as one can get. 

The Catechism begins with this on the subject (and this is what I will expand upon about my friend)
Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead (CCC 357).    
She is indeed more than just a conglomeration of cells that form a sophisticated organism. She is someone in that she is made in God's image and likeness. My friend is a vision who carries the dignity of the image of God like a shining torch in the darkness. You can see her joy -- even in her frustrations or sorrows, there's no doubt that she is tethered to God in all that she thinks and does. Her beauty is both interior disposition and seen as an exterior expression -- faith and reason guiding her forward. 

When we talk, it is very rarely a shallow "how do you do", but a mutually respectful journey toward personal growth and insight. She is on a quest for self-knowledge, as we all should be to root out the evils of self-love and join herself more fully to Our Lord. And, on this quest she epitomizes what St. Catherine (a favorite of mine) writes in her Dialogue: "...for this should be the end and purpose of all her self-knowledge, to rise above herself, mounting the throne of conscience..." In all that I know of her, she does indeed strive to rise above herself to mount that throne -- to be the human person God wishes her to be through that fact that her dignity requires self-possession and continence. 

She is a person therefore, and in my experience of being her friend through the years, who freely gives and enters into communion with others because she can serve Jesus there. She prays without ceasing -- sharing her devotion to the Divine Mercy with everyone, especially with those who are ill or are dying; she serves the Church untiringly, and has instilled that virtue of service in her family; she opens her heart and her home to those who are in need, whose own families are unable or unwilling to attend to their needs, etc. She is without a doubt living the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. She inspires me and I marvel at her continued zeal -- truly a grace. 

Speaking of grace, my friend lives this next expression so clearly: "a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love...". The relationship between her and her God is visible in all that she does. Her response of faith and love often goes unrecognized -- but, never unwitnessed. She is a perpetual witness to her faith and love of the Trinity. And, in actuality, she'd prefer to fly under the radar of recognition. This is one of my most favorite of her many manifold gifts. 

To sum it up, you live this quote my friend: 

Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful. Sow happiness about you because you have received much from God; give, then generously to others. They should take leave of you with their hearts filled with joy, even if they have no more than touched the hem of your garment. Keep well in mind the words I am telling you right now (Diary of St. Faustina, #55). 

You love God for all that He is; and you love me regardless of how I fail, because you constantly remind me (in actions perhaps more than words) that I am God's wonderful creation, too. Thank you, dear friend, as you celebrate a milestone birthday this week, for the gift of your friendship -- sturdy, true and real. You are a blessing in my life.

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