The greatest blessing given by God to us is HIMSELF. He gave Himself to us without reservation. This is mind boggling, to say the least. Yet it might just be the greatest challenge He has given us — to give ourselves to Him and to others.
Christmas is a wonderful feast to remind us of this challenge. The flurry of gift giving these days should remind us of that one gift which we have probably hesitated or reluctantly given because of fear, uncertainty or mere timidity or even selfishness — the gift of oneself. For it is not that difficult to give a part of our time, our treasure, our talent. But to give our whole self to God might be considered overwhelmingly unfathomable or impossible.
The greatest fear in this self-giving or self-offering is the fear of losing our self, our identity which of course cannot be true. How else would we understand the words of Jesus, “If you wish to follow me, deny yourself.” In the words of Matthew 16,14, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves.” But no other argument can be more convincing and powerful than the very example of Jesus’ offering of self.
The words of our own Bro. Yves Congar, OP, one of the greatest theologians of the II Vatican Council is worth pondering: “There is only one thing real, one thing that is true: to hand oneself over to God.”