Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 101

As Christians, the process of ascending, flying, and descending could be compared to the Paschal mystery; the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. St. Paul expresses this truth in these words: “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His” (Romans 6:5). The key to life is kenosis: self-emptying, the way of Jesus. Empty yourself and be holy, that is everything. Yet we have in us an innate tendency to preserve the life that God has given us. So we try- until the very last moment- to live. An adolescent person can be quite self-centred as part of his growth process, but as he moves on to adulthood, he has to become more altruistic and self- giving. Such a capacity for this self-gift is the most authentic sign of human and spiritual maturity. Genuine love involves death to self, because in this case the other person becomes more important to me. That is why Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice of His own life on the cross: so that in all of our unworthiness, we may live. What Jesus taught, He lived through. Those who lose their life will find it; those who try to preserve it will lose it. The lives of saints give testimony to this most profound spiritual and existential truth. St. Vincent Pallotti, the saint of Rome, lived for just 55 years. He was all things for everyone. His famous prayer was that he may become food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes for the naked, and health for the sick. He walked the streets tirelessly doing good; visiting the sick and prisoners, conducting classes for the illiterate, hearing confessions and administering the sacraments to people. He was a great mystic who breathed in God, and breathed out God. He spent hours in prayer on his knees after all of his tedious works during the day. Eventually, he was burnt out like a candle. He died a death of valor; as an active soldier for Christ on the battlefield. He ran the race set out for him, and finished it gloriously. He attained the imperishable crown of eternity! This is what life's all about. Be the candle flickering with all your might, until the Spirit’s wind blows it out and takes you home. 101