by Dorothy Riera
The sacraments are the legacy that Jesus left behind so that our lives would continue to be enriched during our earthly journey. Each sacrament unto its own, fills our life with God's divine grace. They are the vehicle through which we bond our lives to Christ. Even though grace is an abstract concept and difficult to comprehend, the nourishment it gives the soul is somewhat understood when seen through the prism of one person dramatically changing the life of another.
Recently I saw an Italian film call "Il Postino." It recounts the life of a simple postman living in an obscure Italian village. This illiterate peasant befriends the most illustrious poet of his time, Pablo Neruda. It is an interlude that will dramatically change his life.
Neruda, one of the world's most prolific poets, is living in exile because of political ideologies in Italy. This simple man delivers the mail and slowly but inexorably they befriend each other. The postman is avid of learning and enhancing his ordinary existence. Ultimately, intimacy with the poet will leave his indelible mark. Day after day, the rugged peasant seeks the knowledge to grow beyond his daily existence. Through the interaction with the poet, the postman discovers within himself his hidden talent. Writing poetry becomes a divine obsession. Neruda has crowned the postman with convictions, understanding and passion.
Exile ends for the poet and he returns to his native Chile never to be seen again by the uneducated peasant.
Nevertheless, this obscure man understands in his mind, heart and soul what his transformation has been. He has discovered that within him lies a unique human being capable of giving from the ordinary to the extraordinary. This poet friend helped him to grow in grace and wisdom beyond the realms of daily life. The inner potential that was subdued, flourishes by this unexpected but destined interlude.
And so it is with the opportunities we have through the sacraments to discover our hidden talents and enrich our lives. The sacraments are interludes that nourish the development of our spiritual life. They are the metaphor that encourage us to grow, expand and reach the light and life God has prepared for us beyond our daily and obscure lives.
The grace we receive through the sacraments fortifies our existence and help us in the vicissitudes of life. And so like the obscure peasant, our lives are penetrated, enriched and transformed by the intangible.