A Death for Others

A Death for Others

September 28

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The great mystery is that all people who have lived with and in the Spirit of God participate through their deaths in the sending of the Spirit. God’s love continues to be sent to us, and Jesus’ death continues to bear fruit through all whose death is like his death, a death for others.

In this way, dying becomes a way to an everlasting fruitfulness. We touch here the most hope-giving aspect of our death. Our death may be the end of our success, our productivity, our fame, or our importance among people, but it is not the end of our fruitfulness. The opposite is true: the fruitfulness of our lives shows itself in its fullness only after we have died. We ourselves seldom see or experience our fruitfulness. Often we remain too preoccupied with our accomplishments and have no eye for the fruitfulness of what we live. But the beauty of life is that it bears fruit long after life itself has come to an end. Jesus says: “In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest” (John 12:24).

This is the mystery of Jesus’ death and of the deaths of all who lived in his Spirit. Their lives yield fruit far beyond the limits of their short and often very localized existence.

Henri Nouwen

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