What Am I Willing to Live For?
BY JORGE PALACIOS, JR. | November 7, 2022
At the opening of this year’s Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice, Dr. Beth Ford McNamee asked everyone in attendance, “For what and for whom am I willing to give my life?”
It may, at first, seem that this is a call to martyrdom—to literally lay down your life for another. But if we were asking 2,000 people in Washington D.C. to actually consider death, then this event would not be celebrating its 25th year. Instead, this question is about something far more interesting. How am I willing to use my life, my gifts, my time, and my resources? To what end will I use these things that make up my life? How ought I to live?
In this week’s first reading, we are introduced to a family of martyrs. In their dying words, their torturers reconsider their own orientation towards faith. I must consider the story of other martyrs in order to understand the martyrs from this first reading.
What of Saint Oscár Romero?
…the six Jesuit martyrs and their two companions?
…the four churchwomen of El Salvador?
…Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.?
In all of these stories, those who died were attempting to discern and live out God’s will in the midst of God’s people. It’s clear that the commitment began way before the moment of their death. They had already committed their lives to service, to justice, to love of neighbor, to God. They had already given their lives, and as tragic as their deaths were, they were prepared to give them in pursuit of the kingdom of God, in pursuit of justice.
The question is not, “What am I willing to die for?”, but rather, “What am I willing to live for?” In Washington D.C., at the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice, I saw 2,000 people eager to give their lives, to live their lives, in service to building a more just world. Amen, Alleluia.
Jorge Palacios Jr. has served as the Migration Coordinator for Youth Engagement for the Ignatian Solidarity Network since 2022. He grew up on a cattle farm in northern Colorado and attended Regis Jesuit High School, and then later Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He has worked as a crew leader on chainsaw crews local youth corps, as a kindergarten paraprofessional, and most recently served as liturgist and music director at Annunciation Catholic Church in Denver. Jorge currently lives in Golden, Colorado.
“What am I willing to live my life for?’ is the quetion asked by Jorge. He gives us examples of Oscar de Romero and others who have certainly influenced our lives. It seems that I could have made better choices but the ones I’ve made have been asked by God and accomplished by His assistance. In living for justice and truth, I try to give to the poor and homeless. I try to treat everyone I meet with equity. I try to be aware of the needs of the other whose needs are different from mine. I try to think beyond my neighborhood to the globe Church and how technology is causing havoc in Africa by drawing young people to follow the wrong tenets of technology. What can I do? One of the things that needs to be done is to use technology for the good. By giving people ways of helping and serving others through care and kindness, helping others think about what they can help their neighbor and others to do for the goodness of God like the sisters of El Salvador, we need to constantly put ourselves in the background and serve those most in need of God’s love.
Living and even dying in pursuit of justice is a life well lived. Thanks Jorge Palacios Jr.
We certainly need to serve those most in need of love. That’s what Mother Teresa asked us to do to serve the lonely, the forgotten, the rejected as f they were Jesus in the midst of our Western society