Saying Yes to Life

CCAO Intern Rick Elefano
October 1, 2012

Rick Elefano, CCAO Peace and Conflict Resolution Intern

I am at the “mature adulthood” stage of life, and there seems to be nothing more compelling in my mind and heart now than to search anew for what would be most meaningful and fruitful in what remains to be lived in my life and do it! It has to do somehow with my being an immigrant to the United States in my late years; it has to do with relationships – with myself and others, with the world and with God – in faith, in hope, in love.

In faith, for just as in my formative teen years, I’ve awakened and committed myself to saying yes to life, to a meaningful existence so now, despite the sufferings and tragedies, the evil and sin in the world, I reaffirm that yes, in a new country, a new culture. In faith, because Somebody Else has first put his faith and trust in man to bring creation to greater and gradual perfection. And what could this mean to me, and to a country and people looked up to as a leader of nations?

In hope, for I also have taken courage to risk myself in affirming a fuller life beyond the horizon of this almost ridiculously short span of “seventy years, or eighty for those who are strong,” based on what Somebody Else has promised – a fuller life that would grow “from glory to glory.” The longing is for “a new heaven and a new earth,” but not without going through the vicissitudes of life, not without selling out everything for what is perceived as “the treasure,” “the pearl of great price.” Yet, critical questions insist for answers: Is it fair to suffer? Is it fair to be poor? To be oppressed? Is it fair to die? Man has not been given the option to give consent whether or not to exist and live. What happens is just a gradual or sudden awareness of LIFE! And life demands a response.

In love, for there is nothing like communing with nature, getting lost in contemplation of the beauty and mystery of the ever expanding universe of stars and galaxies. There’s nothing like the intimate ecstasy of marital embrace of a man and a woman, and definitely nothing like the mystical union of God and man in the Eucharist. A whole celebration of life and death in all the concerns of making a family, earning a living, relating to people and caring for the environment, seeing and encountering God’s loving presence in all aspects of it!

Life and death, lush and stark realities of being human. At this stage in my life, I’ve come to know something of what life is about, and to delight in being human, in not simply be-ing a man, but in being a Christian. There are more and more times now when I find myself rehearsing for the great event of being-no-more but still with a yearning for doing more, and having more to be more. The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach with its mission and commitment to address issues in Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation has provided me a wonderful and timely avenue for living out my yes to the meaning and value of life. It is such a marvelous gift indeed, God’s amazing grace!