Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spark of Life

“… he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." (Lk 20:38)
I was drawn to this verse in today's Gospel and yet, I was not sure of what I wanted to say about it or how to put into words what I was feeling.
Then Etty Hillesum kept popping into my head.
Etty Hillesum was a Jewish woman who died in Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of 29. She kept a diary that has been made into a book called An Interrupted Life. What inspired me most about this powerful book was Etty's attitude about life.
Here are just 2 of her quotes:
I feel as if I were the guardian of a precious slice of life with all the responsibility that entails. There are moments when I feel like giving up or giving in but I soon rally again and do my duty as I see it: to keep the spark of life inside me ablaze.

It still all comes down to the same thing. Life is beautiful and I believe in God. And I want to be there right in the thick of what people call "horror" and still be able to say: Life is beautiful.
Seems to me that Etty knew better than many of us that life is a gift from God. What is remarkable is that she was able to see that life was beautiful, even in the middle of so much fear and suffering. And she trusted in the Lord to be with her, right up to the end.
Lord, help me to see life is beautiful no matter what is going on in my life. Help me to keep that spark of life within me ablaze!

17 comments :

deodate said...

Beautiful post and beautiful prayer. Another prayer - that we may feel this way in the midst of our everyday, our ordinary lives. Thank you.
Andie

Anne said...

I absolutely love Etty Hillesum! I have quoted "An Interrupted Life" many times on my blog. She is a great role model for continuing on in our mission in life, in following God's will for us, no matter what obstacles may stand in our way.

Colleen said...

Andie, thank you. And thanks for adding anther prayer. I like that.

Anne, Amen! I love her too! I have read that book a few times! Thanks.

Mary333 said...

Well, now I know what the next book I'm going to order will be :)

Colleen said...

Mary, :)
Hope you like it! Etty is really quite an inspiration. God bless!

Daily Grace said...

Beautiful Colleen, like Mary I will be ordering this one too!

God bless

Colleen said...

Daily Grace! Great! let me know what you think!

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

Thank you for sharing this inspiring post. I've got to find that book. It sounds wonderful!
Blessings,
Marcia

Colleen said...

Marcia, you might check the library for that book. But once you read it, you will probably want to get your own! :)
Blessings!

Jamey said...

What an inspiring post...I have never read that book so I am going to see if I can find it at the library. Thanks Colleen!

Jamey said...

What an inspiring post...I have never read that book so I am going to see if I can find it at the library. Thanks Colleen!

Colleen said...

Jamey, thank you! Hope you like it. It started a little slow for me so hang in there. Then when the Nazis started limiting Jewish movement, Etty really starts looking for God in everything and He becomes her focus. She even read the gospels AND St Augustine!

Carol@simple_catholic said...

I never heard of Etty Hillesum. Looks like she was a remarkable woman. I'll definitely be getting a copy of that book!

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Thanks so much for this post. I'll be sure to get a copy of this book. God bless her for her commitment to life in the midst of death.

Colleen said...

Carol, hope you like the book!

Barb, she really was amazing. So courageous and full of faith and hope.

Joann said...

Thank you Colleen for this beautiful and challenging post. Ordinary people can inspire with their extraordinary heroism.

This past week we celebrated Veteran's Day. My husband and I spoke with a young soldier just back from Afghanistan who was honoring his uncle who had been a legendary prisoner of war. He died in captivity in Vietnam. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He kept escaping and they kept recapturing him. They would lead him from village to village tethered to a rope fastened to a stake driven through his cheeks. When I heard his story, I wondered how these people do it. Etty found that spark within her and kept going. I guess the grace will be there when we need it for whatever the challenge, ordinary or extraordinary. I need to remember to prayer for it.

Colleen said...

Joann, wow. that is quite a story about the Vietnam hero. I remember reading about saints who were martyred and how they seemed so at peace about it all. Seems like God does send graces for what we need when we need them. Very moving. Thanks for sharing.