Why does Dad love the other kids more than me?

Compared to things like visions of angels or flaming chariots or being overcome with bliss, as happens to so many of the heroes of the Catholic tradition, how could any of the life/career options available appeal to me. How could any career path compare to being pierced with a spear of golden light or having angels come down and tell me the mission God wants me to fulfill?

Come on—doubting Thomas gets to put his hands in Christ’s wounds to shore up his faith, even after already hanging out with Christ and seeing numerous miracles first hand?

Spoiled rich boy Francis gets a weeping statue?
Saul goes around persecuting Christians and gets a flash of light and a voice?
Three peasant children receive a vision of Mary?
Come on, even random folks in the crowd at Fatima got to see the dancing sun?

How can we simultaneously believe stuff like that happens and be content with our lot instead? To use an analogy: if I know my brother got an iPad for his birthday, how happy could I possibly be if dad tells me I can pick any present I want from the dollar spot at Target for my present? Or watching my sister open up her new Star Wars Death Star action playset, and finding out that the box it came in is my present?

I appreciate how your perspective on this would play out differently.

Dear friend,

First of all, your difficulty stems from your beginning with yourself and then comparing what you don’t have and want with what you perceive that others have. Actually, the Apostle, Thomas was put to death for his faith in Jesus. St. Francis of Assisi became blind and suffered from the wounds of Jesus that appeared on his body. St. Paul was martyred for his faith. The three Fatima children were threatened with being boiled in oil if they didn’t reveal what Our Lady had told them. They believed these threats, since they were so young. Yet not one of them caved. They all suffered much before they died. The crowd at Fatima was terrified by the sun.

What you need to do, is begin with God. He came first, so He should come first in the way we look at our lives. They are the direct result of His choice. He it is who created us to hear our favorite sounds , see our favorite shapes and colors and taste our favorite foods. Any one of us could VERY EASILY not have been conceived. Yet here we are, existing on the outside of nothing by His generosity! Have you every considered how good it is to exist? But most of all, our lives have MEANING because He showed us His love on the cross.

Of course, we can still wallow in self-pity and grouse about what we don’t have if we so choose. But we are better than that; we were made for more. Gratitude is the only appropriate response to His love for us.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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