The more time I spend with Gaudium et Spes, the more I love it. It’s just so beautiful!
You could look at this quote as a throwaway comment, but if you take the time to dig into it… wow! I can’t find myself until I don’t matter anymore. My opinions, my priorities, my philosophies, my vision of the way the world should work–all these are irrelevant, and I will be more spiritually free, more like God, the more independent of them I am. The less tightly I hold onto me, the more I will know who I actually am.
The thing is, what does it mean to make a “sincere gift of self”? The NFP community uses self-gift as a catch-phrase, to the point where for years, I only saw it in relation to questions surrounding sexuality.
But that’s only one tiny slice of self-gift. What does it mean in my family? In my marriage? What does it mean in a work or school community situation where I feel threatened or I passionately disagree with choices being made? Does emptying myself mean I should never stand up and protest injustices I’ve suffered? Never call out poor choices or un-Christlike behaviors or policies?
What about emptying myself of my own self-importance? We all know it’s God’s opinions, not ours, that matter. The trouble is, we are all 100% convinced that God agrees with us. We don’t recognize the possibility that we might have opinions we need to give up, because obviously, we’re already in the right. We never even stop to question what human priorities we have slapped with the “God’s on my side” label.
This quote from the Second Vatican Council offers a heck of a lot of food for thought in the year 2020, as we stare down the barrel of a presidential election guaranteed to be ugly–and more to the point, guaranteed to be full of the temptation to assume that my worldly philosophies, my desires, my opinions, are God’s opinions, rather than mine.