Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Jesus spoke: “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.” (Matthew 6: 19-21).
In a materialist society, I am tempted to become absorbed in achieving my own desires and comfort regardless of how my actions affect the others around me.
In the economic atmosphere today, I have to run faster than others to get a good job and keep it. Technology is abused to help the rich get richer but the poor get poorer too. In my need for survival at a good standard of living, the more I accumulate of power the more I distance myself from my neighbor.
The above does not help me achieve my ultimate goal of real satisfaction, but on the contrary it suffocates me and alienates me from the innate desire for my highest good which we must discover. According to St.Thomas Aquinas we observe ourselves and the world and find that we are impelled forward to our highest good “God”. This humanist approach of St.Thomas Aquinas gives us the opportunity to find God in all things and particularly in the people that we know, because everyone of us has a vocation. This humanist approach is carried forward in the writings and acts of St. Thomas More in his judgment as Chancellor of England on the primacy of conscience; in St. Ignatius Loyola founder of the Society of Jesus in his Spiritual Exercises on weighing the presence of God in the choices man makes; and St. Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney in his heroic acts of helping some 20,000 annual pilgrims from France and other countries to repent where he instructed his visitors against evil and patiently spent close to 18 hours daily in the confessional in the town of Ars, France.
The Church does not ask us to leave the world and become monks. On the contrary, by participating in God's passion that loves his creatures, we serve ourselves by serving others. This is the beginning of spiritual growth in individuals, families and societies that have alienated themselves from the God of love.
A key point in the above sacred text is found in Jesus' words “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Since the incarnation of Christ, our heaven, where we store up treasures, is here and not above us there. We are here to work with God's grace in order to sanctify creation and help creation find its highest good. Prayer, meditation and Bible study are required to give God a room in our daily thoughts as his Spirit urges us in our hearts to repent and open up to God's calling. As we respond to God, we benefit from the sacraments in the community, which in turn allow us to grow together in the love of God through the guidance of our pastors - In every generation, the Church is constantly renewed by the heroic acts of saints.