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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The World is Not Enough

Today I came across this meditation I wrote a few years ago, considering the meaning of "The Call", and in general, what it means to be a child of God.

Written July 20, 2005

It is a gift to be called by God to serve Him and Him alone. We are given only one life and as such, we are all called to one death. But for some, death comes gently and willingly if we accept a Call to die to the world (sacramentally, for some), in favor of the path our Heavenly Father allows us to choose.

Consider - to offer the Lord not only the one natural and expected death, but two deaths, one sacramental or symbolic, substantiated by action and a radical change in lifestyle! And how the Lord graces us both to answer that Call and to give us the ability to thank Him for all that is given in His love.

In my life I have been so richly blessed. God has given me nearly everything I thought I wanted. Sometimes He gave me just enough to realize I only wanted a taste, and that was enough. Sometimes He has allowed me to immerse myself entirely in my fancies, and sometimes just a quick glance of the reality of what I was asking for. And like the Father he is, God continually kept His gentle guiding hand upon me. Even as I struggled and tantrumed, he waited patiently, occasionally calling me away from danger. And when I got burned in the flames of my desires or bruised by my follies, He let me come back to Him to be comforted. And when I grew weary, he waited for me to crawl into his lap and fall asleep against his heart.

I asked God for the world and he gave it to me. He helped me to play and showed me many secrets and joys of His creation to help me understand this great gift to humanity. He watched me and He smiled at my delight. When I didn’t play fair or got greedy, He scowled and chastised me, and when I abused my gift, He took it away for a time, forcing me to change my habits and return to gratefulness. Then God would give the world back to me, even though He knew what I would do and what would happen.

St. Therese of Lisieux once compared herself to a ball belonging to the child Jesus, and so I offer this scenario and draw a similar picture as to the world God created for us. The "accident" in that the world is round and therefore ball-shaped is not coincidental, especially when considered in light of St. Therese's idea.

So I return to the image of playing with the World in the form of a ball to kick around, or maybe, as in a game of dodge-ball, to be struck and bruised by it. Over time, I have become tired of the play and the games. So often the World has led me into sin, both willingly and unwillingly. We are God’s children, sometimes clumsy in our play and sometimes as we try to pick up the ball, we kick it and it flies into the busy street or over the precipice into the rocky ravine wrought with snakes or other crawly dangers of nature. So often, I have followed this unruly World over the precipice or into the street, only to suffer the consequences once more for my iniquities. When I should have stopped like a good child and looked to God for help in retrieving this gift, I have ignored the call of the Lord to wait for Him to help and I have run headlong into danger, heedless of the consequences. Time and time again I have crawled out of the ravine, bruised and bloody and tearful. And time and time again Jesus has held out His hand to me and has lent me his shoulder and has wiped away my tears while forgiving my errant ways. And so time and time again I have returned to play and have both conquered and have been conquered by the World. And again and again I have leapt over the precipice in search of the World and have landed, crushed in a heap at the bottom of the abyss of my own making.

Now I have crawled out, having too many times been confronted by the reality of the World I thought I wanted. I have come back to the Lord, knelt at the feet of Jesus and I have washed his feet with my tears and wiped them clean with my hair. I have glanced up into his twinkling and merciful eyes and have earnestly explained to him that I learned my lesson. I don’t want the World anymore.

The world is not enough.

I have to admit I don’t really know what to do with such a fine gift, anyway. So I offer the World back to the Lord and I thank Him for the generous gift. And then I tell him in all seriousness,

“The world is not enough. It’s beautiful and I love the gifts you bestow on us. But it is not enough. Now I want Heaven. Dearest Jesus, will you give us Heaven and Eternal Life? Will you have mercy on all of us sinners? What do I need to give you in order to obtain this great reward?”

And eyes twinkling again, Jesus takes the World from my battle-scarred and callused hands, he takes my hands in his, kisses them, embraces me and says, “Just this. Just give this back to me and put your hands in mine and I will lead you home.”

God waits all our lives for us to finally come to Him and ask not for more temporal goods, but Heaven. Eternal union with Him. He wants us to be with Him forever in eternity and his gift is free; but we have to ask for it and follow the right path. We have to recognize the great gift the Lord offers and we have to understand that we cannot attain it for and of ourselves.

Rather, we have to go to Jesus and let him lead us to the very throne of the Heavenly Father so that we can be with him for eternity.

The World can never be enough. Not when Jesus has offered his life and death, that we may live forever.

1 comment:

Hidden One said...

I believe that the reception of a gift on our part is worth more to our souls than the gift itself.