– a debt that can never be fully repaid
by Francisco Aguilar
Whenever I reflect on my life, the memories arise so fresh and vivid of the many moments I have been given gifts — life, health, education, love, support, encouragement, respect. And I know that God is the source of all these things and has used many people in my life to be channels of provision for me. Whether a teacher, a friend, a coach, a classmate – I cannot contain my gratitude towards God and to each person who has been a positive influence in my life. And even when I have said thanks, I find myself wanting to do more. But I realize I can’t give back exactly what I was given. I can never find enough ways of saying, “Thank you!” and, “Thank God for you!”
So, I am in debt, the “debt of gratitude.” I will never be able to repay it all, but I do know that I must at least offer all these gifts back to the Lord. In keeping with the prayer of Ignatius of Loyola, I gladly say,
Receive, O Lord, my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess you have given me: I surrender it all to you, to be disposed of according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.The Scriptures remind me that every good gift and endowment comes from God (James 1:17). My very existence is a gift from him. My life is his life, my gifts are his gifts, and my talents are his talents.
I am grateful to Jesus Christ, who brought me freedom and new life in his Spirit. He canceled the debt of my sins when he died for me on the cross. For that I am deeply grateful and try to thank God each day. And if I do not, then I am simply being ungrateful and ill-mannered – such an enormous gift.
If only I could be Christ’s ambassador to the whole world and speak to every person alive today. But that is beyond my reach. The one thing I can do is pray and offer my life to help others – that I may die to myself, so that many others may find Christ and live the abundant life he offers them (John 12:24-25).
[Francisco Aguilar is a member
of Jesed Community in Monterrey, Mexico and an affiliate-in-training in
the Servants of the Word.]
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