ALL is gift. As I type this short and pithy saying, I am reminded of the woman who originally told me that statement many, many years ago. She was a mother figure to me because she had the wisdom that her advanced years in Religious Life had gifted to her. Being in my twenties at the time of my first hearing it, I was absolutely clueless about its meaning and the scope of its reach. Now, as I approach my “golden years,” I can understand to a certain degree some of the “all” in ALL. Or better yet, how encompassing “all” is ALL.
As I reflect on this, I marvel how much we, as Americans, take for granted. How easy it is to become complacent with these “gifts:” electricity, gasoline, food, personal safety, freedom of religion, and a God who loves us personally and intimately. I am truly embarrassed to admit how much individuals in our society demand because they feel they are merely entitled to them. Being a member of such a society, I must admit that at times I have “tasted this Kool-Aid” and found it delicious. Praise God that I am constantly reminded of my need for conversion and lean heavily on God’s mercy and forgiveness!
God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, I believe, are things that we can truly take for granted. If we can take Him for granted, then we can easily take for granted His Church, His grace, and His sacraments as well!
The entire three-year focus on the Eucharist encouraged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urges all American Catholics to not undervalue the amazing gift of the Eucharist, corporately as well as individually.
In the document The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church, we read, “Mass [is] the re-presentation of Christ’s unique sacrifice on the Cross, the reception of Christ truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and the marvelous effects of communion in those who receive this gift. … The salvation offered in the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ is nothing less than sharing in the very life of God, in the communion of love among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is no greater gift that God possibly give us…. [T]hat gift that is made present to us in the Eucharist, we must first realize how truly profound is our alienation from the Source of all life as a result of sin. We have abundant experience of evil, yet so many of us deny the cause of much of that evil – our own selfishness, our own sins.”1
ALL is gift. To understand this reality is to own our brokenness and how we selfishly focus on ourselves by refusing to live a life of virtue. Without the gift of grace of our Baptism, strengthened by our Confirmation and nourished by the Eucharist, we are doomed to be trapped in the nightmare of our own sin. Without of the gift of the light of grace, we become complacent with the darkness. But the gift of Christ’s death and Resurrection gave us a way out of this nightmare of endless darkness. It is the gift of the Eucharist that His gift of new creation is present to us until the end of time.
This is indeed the gift of all gifts and a HUGE part of the “all” in the statement, “All is gift!”
1 https://eucharisticrevival.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/The-Mystery-of-Eucharist-JANUARY-2022-Edition.pdf — sections of paragraphs 8, 9, 10.
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, The Catholic Witness