The Gift of Self of the Widow
If a man as a being (person) is something greater than the world, then, as one who exists (living dynamism), he is part of the cosmos. Therefore, while in the final analysis, the aim of his actions is his own completeness or happiness, in immediate terms it is to serve the whole of which he is a part. Even though the objective of the entire universe is to help man attain happiness more fully, man, as a part of the world, must also serve it…
Human existence unfolds in the service of the world. Man completes himself by giving of himself, sacrificing himself. The finest comment on this Christian principle are the words of Anne Vercors before the dead body of his daughter, Violaine, in Paul Claudel’s The Tidings Brought to Mary: “Perhaps the end of life is living? And perhaps the children of God remain sure-footed on this wretched earth? Not living, but dying—and giving in gladness all that we have. This is joy, liberty, grace, eternal youth!…What value does the world have compared with life? And what value does life have if not to be given?”
Human existence is a consuming of oneself “for” something. But what is the nature of this “consuming”? In the mystery of the Trinity, the substance of being is revealed to us as relationship. Now let us add that it is proposed to us as a gift. This is man’s greatness. His life, like the Being who created him, is to be a gift; he is similar to God. Thus, man consuming himself must become gift; he is the only creature who has the capacity to be conscious of this structural element of reality.