|I have a beautiful piece of art in my office. I look at it each day. It is a mosaic of a tree. I love trees and when I look at the mosaic, it gives me joy and comfort. If I stand close to the mosaic the image becomes diffused and lacks clarity. When I step back, all the colors and pieces seem to work together to form a more striking image of the tree and its beauty bursts forward. This of course is the nature of mosaics.
It occurred to me one day how much our lives are like mosaics. Mosaics are created with pieces which have a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Our life mosaics are made up of closely set, small moments, countless relationships, creative ideas, emotions, prayer, grace, love, struggle, sorrow, disappointment, joy. We are invited to be co-artists with God in creating our own lives and participating in the lives of others.
When Saint Paul wrote in today’s first reading and letter to the Romans, he offered them (and us!) a pathway to answering this invitation. Each of us is a piece in the larger mosaic of life and Saint Paul tells us that every one of us is needed…we, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them. His powerful invitation to work together, care for one another and share our gifts offers us the opportunity to invest ourselves into humanity to create a breath-taking work of art.
This is also a vision for our own personal lives. When we are struggling with something painful, we become very close to the pain because it takes most of our energy and we can scarcely see or deal with anything else. Like standing close to a mosaic, what we see is indistinct and unclear.
When I reflect on my life and remember the times when I faced great sorrow or difficulties, I could no longer see the beauty of my own life-mosaic. When people reached out to me, and I allowed myself to be open to them, their love and gifts restored my life to me and once again I was able to see the beauty bursting forth. I in turn became committed to doing the same with and for others.
Let us remember to step back and look at our life mosaic. Remember Paul’s words…love one another with mutual affection…God’s mosaic emerges when we participate in life, acknowledge our own giftedness, celebrate the gifts of others and allow the beauty to burst forward.