The greatest danger that threatens all of us is to end up living a sterile life. Without realizing it we go about reducing life to what seems to us to be important: earning money, not having problems, buying things, knowing how to entertain ourselves… With the passing of a few years we can find ourselves living without much other horizon or project.
It’s so easy. Little by little we go about substituting values that could encourage our life for small interests that help us to «just get by». It’s not much, but enough for us to «survive» without more aspiration. What’s important is to «feel good».
We’re setting ourselves up in a culture that experts call a «culture of insignificance». We confuse what’s courageous with what’s useful, what’s good with what we fancy, happiness with well-being. We already know that that’s not all, but we try to convince ourselves that it’s enough for us.
However it’s not easy to live that way, repeating ourselves over and over again, always feeding ourselves on the same things, without any creativity or commitment, with that strange sensation of being stuck, incapable of taking up our life more responsibly.
The final reason for that dissatisfaction is profound. To live in a sterile way means not entering into the creative process of God, staying like passive spectators, not understanding what is the mystery of life, denying within ourselves that which makes us like the Creator: creative love and generous self-giving.
Jesus compares a person’s sterile life with a «fig tree that doesn’t bear fruit». Why should it take up space in vain? Jesus’ question is unsettling. What meaning does it have to go about occupying a place in the middle of creation, if our life doesn’t contribute to building a better world? Are we content to pass through this life without making it a little more human?
To raise a child, form a family, take care of aging parents, cultivate friendship or walk close to a person in need… this isn’t to ‘waste my life’, but to live it from its fullest truth.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf