Friday, June 20, 2014

There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.

“Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it…and then it’s gone.

But to surrender who you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying – even more terrible than dying young.” ― St Joan of Arc

Gospel Text: (MT 6:19-23)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

So the question for each of us today is this: What am I in love with? Where is my treasure?

For me, the challenging part of this is the fact that it is so easy to tell myself, in my head, that “Of course my treasure lies with God!” and to feel secure in that without really doing the hard and sometimes uncomfortable work of diving into whether or not that is actually true. So how do I get beyond this blanket statement that is sometimes more delusion and self-congratulations than anything else?

Rather than first asking ourselves whether or not our treasure is in God, maybe we should first look at what we do with our evenings, how we spend our weekends, etc. Yes, falling in love with God will affect everything, but how we spend our time on a daily basis also reveals what we are in love with and where our treasure is. One of the great gifts of Ignatian Spirituality is its invitation and challenge to us to examine our day in order to seek God and to ask ourselves whether or not we are recognizing and responding to the work of the Holy Spirit in the lived experience of our daily lives.

Is a good portion of my day spent on selfish thoughts and actions, drinking too much alcohol, watching YouTube videos that either have no inherent value or that denigrate or objectify others? If so, that tells me something about where my treasure lies. Or, am I spending my day in prayer and reflection, cultivating healthy habits and relationships, and seeking to serve and care for others?

Today we are challenged to find our treasure in God, but in a way that moves beyond simple intellectual assertions. Allowing our actions to reveal to us the trajectory of what we really believe and value can be a helpful, important, and yes, challenging first step in recognizing where our hearts are, what we are in love with, and where our treasure really lies.

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