Saturday, November 5, 2016

“Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. ”

“The world says: "You have needs -- satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don't hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more." This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, excerpt from his novel The Brothers Karamazov

Gospel Text: (LK 16:9-15)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

To do God's will is to spend one's life giving love away.  To love is to forget selfish gain and advancement and not to be obsessed with "what's-in-it-for-me?"  St. Ignatius of Loyola, Father and Founder of the Society of Jesus, aspired for courtly love and public recognition before Pamplona and his conversion. By God's grace, he learned to drop his personal ambitions in pursuit of God's will for him and the Church.  He unlearned selfishness and generously offered himself and his life back to God.  It is the saintly thing to do.

What would life be without saints like Ignatius of Loyola who readily and generously spent themselves and all they had as an offering to God for the well-being of others, for God's greater glory?  Paradoxically, in living giving love away, one is rewarded with everlasting life.

All saints lived this paradox in their lives: they experienced fullness of life because they chose to die for themselves and to spend their living giving love away to others. It is the wise thing to do.  May we all learn to be wise and to live this paradox in our lives.

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