There comes a time in every Catholic’s life when we want more than just our weekly mass and devotional prayers. The desire to be closer to God becomes a sudden craving. Like the fat lady on a lousy diet who wants to spend her life in a size 8 dress, Catholics crave a skinny soul. We want to cut away the heaviness of the world within us that weighs us down.
Take a look at the rich man who asks God what he must to do to gain heaven. He’s already doing great by obeying the commandments. He loves his neighbour, but the dissatisfaction of it all groans within, and he wants more than this. However, for him to become a faithful follower of Christ, he must give away all that he owns, and that’s a strict target, he couldn’t stand up to.
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]” “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.The Rich And The Kingdom Of God, Matthew19: 16-30
In the first paragraph, I talked about how the world weighs us down. When we think of riches and Gold, we immediately feel the heaviness of such items. The weight of Gold weighs us down on our journey through the desert. We are forced to choose between carrying the water bag or the one full of Gold. We want the Gold, and we die.
My grandfather had a friend in World War II who was crossing a river in Japan. His friend was a great violinist, and my grandfather great at the harmonica. They would sing and play their instruments around the campfire, such as their joy for their music. One day, as they journeyed across a deep river in the jungle, a choice for his friend arose.
Either he kept the heavy rifle above his head or his precious violin while crossing. He chose the violin, and the heaviness of the current pulled him away, and he drowned. My grandfather was a great swimmer and repeatedly dived to find him but to no avail. His friend and his violin were gone.
When the rich man was confronted with the proposition of giving all his wealth away, he walked away very sad. He couldn’t do it. Sometimes, Catholics looking for more spirituality don’t really mean it.
When they come up against the proposition of having to give up their emotional comforts such as the ego, anger and the reasonable opinion of their neighbours, the enthusiasm is short-lived. They show preference to the heaviness of the riches of egoism and self-love.
Like the violinist, they become swept away in the undercurrent of the world, the abyss of their own choosing. Walking through the desert of the world, instead of drinking from Grace, they prefer to carry the heavy bag of worldliness that lays heavy on them.
As I rested in the shade one day in Medjugorjes hot summer, a young man approached me. I don’t know why he picked me out of all the people in the world. He had no clue who I was, and to the protest of the crowd around him, he said, “I want MORE than this. I’m fed up of the retreats, and I want to change. I want more spirituality. Can you help me?”. I rummaged through my bag, and out came a book that was so small it could fit in the palm of my hand. It was called “A Way To Love” by Jesuit Father Anthony De Mello.
“here”, I replied, “You can keep this”. The young man was so delighted with himself and immediately went off to read it. The next morning I’m sitting in the shade again. He approaches me and begs for me to take back the book. He said, “it’s just too deep for me…It’s too much”.
You see? Usually when people say, “I’m ready for more”, I take that with a pinch of salt. They’re not ready, they never are. They’ve an image of what it means to be spiritual, but it’s short-lived when they come face to face with the reality of the change necessary to become a new person. Their idea of spiritual must include the riches of their ego.
Suggest they get rid of this first? Then like the rich man in the Gospel, watch them walk off very sad, for they are very “wealthy”. Full of egoism and self-love, it’s even harder to give up than material wealth. Some Catholics delude themselves into thinking that a more Holy Liturgy in Latin will make them “Holy” but it doesn’t. They’re the same idiot they were yesterday as they are today.
If you find yourself wanting “more” don’t believe it. You don’t want more of anything. You just want someone to come along and tell you that you can keep your riches and be happy (follow Christ) at the same time. You want to be the man standing up to his nose in sewage, and you’re coming to Holy men in their hermitages and asking them not to make “waves”. You don’t want to change, and that’s the first step to building a change. Be honest with yourself, it’s always about you.
Make it all about me for a change and subscribe to my blog 😉