“We must ourselves be a total gift, a disinterested, sincere gift in order to recognize, in every man, the gift that he is, and to thank the Giver for the gift of the human person.” -Saint John Paul the Great, Meditation on Givenness

Imagine a world in which every person possessed and lived out a keen awareness of the nature of “givenness” in each member of our human family. If each and every person was regarded by the rest of humanity as a precious gift, there would be no wars, no hatred, no violence, no discord. Our reverence for each other would rule supremely in our hearts and minds, enabling us to take responsibility for the great mission of love that has been entrusted to us by our loving Creator.

But alas, we have become disillusioned and hardened by the sinful tendencies within ourselves and the people around us, and we have allowed our hearts to grow cold—or at least to burn less brightly with the fire of charity that Christ has entrusted to us.

In his Meditation on Givenness, St. John Paul the Great delineates God’s plan for humanity, from the beginning of human existence until this present day. All creation is a gift, with humanity being the most precious and incredible gift of all. St. John Paul shares about his own growing awareness that his vocation as a priest would put many people in his path, “and that God would entrust each one of them in some special way to [him]: giving them to [him] and tasking [him] with them.”

By virtue of our baptism, each of us has St. John Paul the Great’s priestly mission and vocation; each of us is both given and entrusted to the human community in which we live. When we take time to consider that every human person with whom we come in contact is a gift from God and is entrusted to us by God (from our children, to our parents, to siblings and friends, spouse, coworkers, grocery clerks, police officers and librarians), our hearts can burn more fervently with the love and mercy of God, and we can discover deeper joy in the human experience.

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, followed by the precious season of Advent, I invite each one of us to consider the ways that we ourselves are a gift to humanity: an unrepeatable facet of the Imago Dei. And, with a deeper awareness of our human dignity, let us strive to cultivate a greater reverence for the people around us who have been entrusted to us in God’s providence and mercy.

Kathleen Twetten is the Director of Donor Relations at TOBET.

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Body Is a Gift cover
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