It is in Losing One’s Self That One May Find Spiritual Peace
Acts 20:28-38; Psalm 68:29-36; John 17:11-19
Acts 20:28-38 is part of the speech Paul made to the Ephesian Elders before he continued his mission elsewhere that’s safer. The Jews had plotted bad things against him, and that’s why he moved from one place to another, as guided by the Holy Spirit. Paul had done nothing wrong but spread the Good News to everyone, and warn them of things that they needed to be warned of, such as the possibility of people who will come twisting the truth about Christianity and separate God’s people. The gist of his message was “it is better to give than to receive”, and that the Lord’s desire for us to “love others as Jesus has loved us” is more important than our own desires for ourselves. Paul preached about selflessness and true love. Paul also teaches us that it is in giving that we find true meaning.
Have you ever seen somebody who’s about to die? If you have, I’m sure you would agree that it’s a painful experience seeing a loved one on his deathbed, while none of you in the room could do anything to help that loved one defeat his death. It is a feeling of helplessness, but it puts things in the right perspective. Suddenly the things that have been ignored all throughout one’s life are noticed and given consideration. Suddenly it’s easier to you to forgive others, to share tender intimate moments with others, verbalize your feelings for others and clear up all misunderstandings with people who you had misunderstandings with. Same goes with the patient’s visitors in relation to the dying patient. When you’re dying, you learn to ask, “What is the meaning of my life?” It is in these dying moments that we tend to analyze ourselves deeply, and we come to realize that we may be helpless, and yet we feel closer to God and are at peace, knowing that the Lord is with us. It is easy to turn to the Lord now because there is no distraction, and there is one else to turn to during our dying moments. The question is, do we really have to wait this long to turn to the Lord, and believe in His goodness?
Our natural instinct is to protect our own interests, and sometimes, even at the cost of others. If we keep preserving ourselves, our efforts will be useless, because once we die, our efforts die with us, as opposed to making a difference in the lives of others. When we love others more than ourselves, even beyond our death, the things that we have done for others will not go to waste, for people will remember the good heart that we once had when we were alive. They will always have those good and fond memories of us, and our exemplary ways will serve as an inspiration to others and serve as examples for others to follow.
In parallel to what Paul taught us, Jesus died for our sins and rose again so that we may give rise to a new life with Him and be at peace. Jesus even verbally taught us in Matthew 10:39, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” In addition to this, St. Francis of Assisi in his beautiful prayer to God states in the last line, “It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
With that, I want to leave you with the beautiful prayer of St Francis Of Assisi:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.