The Puzzle of Our Lives

Many of us received puzzles when we were young. Puzzles for very young children came with large pieces that, when put together, depicted farm animals or sailboats. Being able to see the relationship of the mixed-up pieces and then putting them together correctly was a significant step in perception—and our parents probably praised us when we completed them.

The image of a puzzle describes one major aspect of our lives. As we get older, the puzzles we face become more serious and complicated. We solve a good many of them, but I suspect that we all have life experiences/puzzles that continue to frustrate us. It helps to realize that our lives have been an adventure with the Lord, an adventure that will not stop after death.

With age and maturity, we understand more about the key influences of our past. Don’t we say that “with age comes wisdom”? Granted, our eyesight may weaken, but our “soul sight” improves.

Even now, we face difficulties that we may not be able to figure out. Consider Jesus and Peter. When Jesus was arrested and put on trial, Peter was asked if he was Jesus’ disciple. It was a life-threatening situation for him. And Peter, who bragged that he would die for Jesus, found himself terrified when accused of being a disciple. He denied even knowing him. Talk about falling on one’s face! What he could not see was that he had fallen forward. The look of love on Jesus’ face at that moment was life-giving. It was the piece of the puzzle that Peter needed: Jesus was the source of his strength.

It is in seeing God face-to-face that the whole puzzle of our lives will come together with perfect clarity. We will see how every piece of the puzzle, both good and bad, was not just mistakes or successes.

by Friar Jim Van Vurst, OFM

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