Make It Happen
This story touches a very deep chord in my
heart. It speaks of a soldier lying in a
hospital bed during the First World War.
He was not yet twenty and was pale and very
The surgeon to save his life had to amputate
his right arm. After some hours, the doctor
returned to see how this young soldier was
getting by. "I am sorry," he told
him, "that you had to lose an arm."
That was all he dared to say and that was
all he needed to say because the eyes of
the soldier opened wide and looking calmly
up into the face of the surgeon, just said,
"I did not lose it, Doctor. I gave it!"
He loved his country so much that he was
glad to give his arm for France.
In life you meet people, many, who always
wish to 'get'. They always crave for something
- cars, money, affection, latest computer
game. They are always thinking about themselves.
So it is refreshing when you meet people,
a few, who wish to 'give'.
Jesus Christ was one of the latter. When
he was going to die, his friends thought
that he was going to be killed by his enemies.
He said no, "I lay down my life so that
I may take it up again. No man takes it away
from me, but I lay it down of myself."
It is helpful to remind ourselves that it
was not Pilate or the Roman soldiers who
took away his life. He himself freely and
deliberately gave His life for us. Sole reason
was His tremendous love for us. Life is a
journey, and love is what makes this journey
We were loved and so we can love… When you
feel forgiven, you feel like forgiving. When
you have received a lot, spontaneously you
give. To use the happy expression of Pope
Benedict XVI in his Lenten message 2007,
the Christian is asked "re-give His
love to his neighbor, especially those who
are suffering and experiencing difficulties".
The film Chocolat is based on the book of
the same name. The film relates the story
of a small French town during Lent. Everyone
is trying hard to avoid sweet foods but what
should open at the same time? A chocolate
shop! It is torture to walk past the shop
with its velvety chocolate smells. Watching
the movie, I could not help but thinking
that the townsfolk had missed the point -
especially when one of the most self-righteous
characters breaks into the shop and stuffs
himself on the chocolates inside.
Christianity (and Lent) is not about that
kind of self-denial. There is very little
value in simply giving up stuff! Yes, it
is about giving up, but not things but life,
your life. Giving up your life to let yourself
be penetrated by God. St. Augustine said
on one occasion that our whole life is a
holy desire, the desire to let God penetrate
in our lives. "God," he says, "is
all that we desire". And once you let
Him penetrate you, then giving becomes spontaneous
and natural. Faith increases when you give
Everything is possible for anyone who believes
and has zeal.
One of Mahatma Gandhi's more famous quotes
was supposedly spoken to a group of British
journalists as they rode on a train through
English-held India. He was asked, "Why
is it that you speak so highly of Jesus yet
you are not a Christian?" He quickly
responded, "I would become a Christian…
if I could just find one…"
As the Pope told us recently, "let us
become Christians again." Life is too
short to be caught up in all its complexities.
Just follow the simple advice of the wise
man. "Sing as though no one can hear
you. Dance as though no one is watching you.
Love as though you have never been hurt before.
Live as though heaven is on earth."
Glenn E. Ludwig, wrote in his book Walking
To and Walking From and Walking Through,
"There are many times in life when we
stand where the ways part and where choices
must be made. It is often easier to trip
along downhill than to walk the steady, or
maybe rocky, uphill path. But the path uphill
leads to a cross -- an empty cross. And the
one that walks beside us is the one who hung
there and defeated it."
No room for discouragement.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright