“Life is a precious gift, but we realize this only when we give it to others.”
The fall is a time of great gathering for the Cellucci family. With all three daughters’ birthdays occurring between September and November, by the time the holiday season is about to start our house is already overflowing with stuff. This week, Tricia and I learned of a family with small children that would soon be arriving in the country with next to nothing. With the season’s sports over and nothing of significance on the calendar, we embarked on an ambitious fall house cleaning. We began with clothes which were easy to part with given the growth spurts of the last year. Then we turned to the much greater challenge, the dolls. Tiny shoes that hadn’t seen the light of day since at least two presidential administrations ago, barbies that have gone undressed the entire pandemic, suddenly became the fixation of three sisters. The project began with great gusto but quickly hit a wall once it was time to vote several barbies off the island. The argument of these toys’ neglect did little to change hearts and minds. Finally, our eldest Annie asked us about the family coming to America. "How many daughters do they have?" As we offered the few details we knew, the girls began to make little packages imagining each child. Tricia bought some plastic bins for their welcome kits. Twelve bins later there were still a few stray separation tears, but they were far outweighed by the thought of what some other girls’ faces would look like when they opened their carefully curated boxes.
My daughters’ sacrifice was far from that of the widow in yesterday’s Gospel. They were very much still giving from an abundant surplus. However, it was remarkable the change in our disposition once we even imagined the face of who might be on the receiving end of our small gesture. Whether it be an email I might be sending, a project I’m planning, or especially a prayer I am offering, do I push myself to keep the face of the recipient of my actions front and center? Do I look at tasks simply as something that I do or do I stretch myself to think about them as something someone might receive? As I think about the ultimate sacrifice of the cross, can I even process the fact that Christ had my face in mind? If so, what gift does that compel me to give to others? Prayers that we all see not only the face of others but the face of Christ in all the gifts we are called to give this week.
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