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What does it mean to be gift?
The world is bombarding us with so many things causing us to get distracted by that noise. That is causing us to forget who we are at our very root. Whose are you? Who are you? Where are you going? Important aspect to who we are.
Radical gift is a gift that comes from nothing. In Genesis when God created man, he created him out of nothing. Our very being as human beings is a radical gift. The gift of our lives is that this gift is first and foremost given to us. We are the recipients of this gift from the Father to ourselves. Every other gift is given as something other than.
What we do with this gift takes on meaning. Do we spread light? Do we put obstacles in other people’s way? What are we doing with our energies and our time? While our being and our goodness and the fundamental idea that we are here doesn’t rely on our goodness or anything like that. It is separate from that; we still have some responsibility towards how we use this gift. And so since our very being is a gift, a gift is only good if it's being given, right? So we are also designed to be able to give ourselves to another, right?
First and foremost. We see this in the spousal relationship and I know that's why John Paul II calls it the gift of self? Because it truly is. We're giving ourselves and that's like the biggest, most intimate way we can give ourselves to somebody. But we're also called to give ourselves to everybody. We encounter our children, our parents, our siblings, our familiar relationships, but also friendships and to anyone we're meeting online. Right. If you're commenting on somebody's post, you are communicating with them and you have the opportunity to breathe life into them or not. We just want to be the best champions of this gift that we can be.
How does the fact that we are gift affect us?
The gift is so fundamental to our being, it has to change everything. And by change, I mean not changing who we are, since we have been gifts from the very beginning, but changing our mindset. So by understanding that we are gifts, the pressure is lifted on us in a certain way. Because our life is a pure gift, our being naturally has value, so we don't give ourselves value. That helps us breathe a little easier. There's things that we can do that make this gift shine brighter or to dull it shine a little bit, right? Of course, there's always because we're moral beings, we make moral decisions every day, but it changes how we view and interact with other people.
There's so much going on in the world and there's so many voices that are telling us that life is different. The devil really has his hand in the culture right now, and he's doing two things. He's spewing all of this noise that we're so confused about. He's making us feel so alone for being the only ones who think that. And so the fact that we are gift has to fundamentally change our way of life, whether that be just simply how we interact with ourselves, but especially how we interact with others.
So how are we called to live out this gift?
We are called to live out this gift well, to the best of our ability. The cool thing about this gift is free in a lot of ways. God created us the way we are freely, without expecting anything back from us. That is an incredible free gift. He gives us the freedom in turn to choose Him or not to choose Him. And if we had all the facts, if we zoomed out, and if we had every single fact on the face of the planet, it would be so clear to us why choosing Him is the best for us. But because we are human and don’t know all of that, the devil likes to zoom in really close and bombard us with all this noise. It becomes harder in the day to day to realize what decisions are leading us to Him and what decisions are not.
How can we be a gift to others, because again, that's very part of our life, right? We can either be a good gift to others and breathe life into them, be a really good friend, be a good listener and share our hearts, go deeper with them, help them in their walk, and they can help us in return? Or we could be a bad influence. We could be a poor friend, be deceiving and cunning and not want the best for others and be very selfish in that.
Our free will gives us this option to be a good gift or to be not so good gift. And so we are called to stewards the gift that we are well in our own lives. Again, the freedom goes both ways. We can't make anyone a good gift to others. We can't demand that anyone treat us well because it's a free gift, and demanding that would take away that freedom.
Here is a series of questions to see how you are truly using your gift:
- How do I see my gift?
- Do I see that I am a gift every day?
- Do I see myself as God sees me?
- Do I give myself the same patience that I give others?
- Do I cheer myself on the same way that I cheer on others?
- Do I tear myself down more than I tear anyone else down?
- Am I tearing anyone down?
- Am I breathing life into every person I encounter?
- Am I seeing every person for the unique and unrepeatable gift that they are?
- Do I take people and their place in my life for granted?
- Do I take my faith for granted?
How are we called to approach others as gift?
Recognize their gift in their being first. So when somebody is standing in front of us, we have a decision. We have a decision to see them as the gift that they are or to take them at their merit. Right. What are they presenting to me? Have they been nice to me? Have they been mean to me? All these things, are we seeing them through a very broken human lens of what can you give me? Or what have you given me? Or are we looking at them as well, marveling at the gift that they are simply in their being?
I don't want to throw their merits or their actions out the window, because I think it's really important to stay safe and to have certain boundaries. I think it's really important that we take into account the way that people do treat us or have treated us in the past, because we don't want to have them walk all over us. But that doesn't negate the fact that they are still good in their very being. If it's the most evil person on the planet, we don't have the right to say, “I deny your gift” and to not recognize their gift because they are good, and my goodness, it's hard. I'm not sitting here saying it's easy or that I get it right every time. But it's important to see them as the gift that they are, regardless of what they do, but then also look at what they do and maybe remind them of their gift and remind them of the standard that that gift does require us to try to live out right. No one's going to be perfect, but because we're made so good,doesn't that necessitate that we should strive to be good?
What is one piece of advice that you want every young Catholic woman to know?“You are an unrepeatable gift to the world and to those around you. Your very presence here on this earth is proof of the utter love of God that He has for you. Don't forget that. When the world and the devil's voice is loud and all consuming, and it's so hard to think you ARE good or to think that anything good can come from your hands or from your being, hold onto the proof that you are.” -Laura