Seeking Divine Mercy
Now someone approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, " 'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and your mother'; and 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” ( Mt Ch 19: 16,23)
Addiction, yes addiction. There is no other word that better describes what most of us succumb to when it comes to the so called “goals” we set for ourselves in this time of separation from God and family in the pursuit of “happiness”. Is this to say goals are bad? Of course not. Striving to reach our goals if established in the right mind and heart is exactly what God intended. He is the one who gifted us with our talents when performed in good conscience. Our love and charity toward one another should be reflected in our successes. But we need to consider what we choose for our goals and the level of importance we place on them. If driven by greed, they will defy us never having reached satisfaction. Can it be just a coincidence that the more we remove God and prayer from our daily lives, schools, public places and so on that the number one priority of the average individual becomes him or herself above everything and everyone else along with whatever “things” they can own or reward themselves with? For many it is not enough to own as much or more than the next person, but to own the most flamboyant, flashy objects clothes house and cars as one can afford or to their limit of affordability, And for what reason? And even more importantly, to what cost and to what or who’s sacrifice? Is it because those things are the best in quality or durability? Or is it because of Self pride and ego to show one’s self above others? Consider this. If it were for the reason of quality and durability it would make sense to purchase and keep those items for the life of the object to get the value out of it; which means we would not have to frequently purchase or replace the same serving objects but instead use what we have for a much longer time. How many people with BMW automobiles keep them for four, six or eight years before replacing them?
“Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.” (Colossians CH3; 5-11)
Lets say an individual buys a BMW automobile instead of a Chevrolet. Do they then keep that car for its useful life? Or do they go out and replace it in a year or two or three for another upper end automobile? Who would be so naive as to believe the lower priced car wouldn’t serve just as long as the BMW for the average time most would possess the upper priced car? But it’s about “Status”, feeding pride and ego so it must be replaced more frequently to serve its true purpose.
How much of an income does one require and how large of a home does a person need for comfortable living conditions before the home becomes nothing more than a shell of a house; a status symbol for self pride and ego. How many rooms does one need before the number is excessive where one hardly enters them let alone uses them? How many through no fault of their own are homeless because of arrogance and unbridled greed?
Now days so deemed large “luxury homes” that use to be constructed on acres and acres of ground hardly visible to their neighboring properties are being constructed on top of each other in major subdivisions with barely enough room to walk between them. Why? Could it be because so many people get drawn into the “status” issue through pride and ego that they must have a “luxury home” even if it means it barely fits on the lot it was built on?
You could say it’s the market but then we create the market. Some will question what is so wrong with pursuing life this way and what is wrong with being “successful”? If you were truly Christian you would know the answer to those questions. If you must ask these questions, you are called to seek further knowledge in Christ. The questions should be, at what point does success become greed and then to what cost and to what or who’s sacrifice do we attain our goals?
If you must go beyond comfort to satisfy your pride and ego, you abandon the practices of humility and charity toward others as Christianity proclaims. Pride is proven over and over and over to be the foundation of all sin and those who absolutely hate to hear the term sin distance themselves from God because His word and His calling interferes with those goals that satisfy pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth, otherwise know as “the seven capital sins”. And why are they called this? Because they are “Those sins to which man's fallen nature is mainly inclined and that are, as a result, the source of all other human failings”. Modern Catholic Dictionary by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
A person who wishes to see them self as they really are must step back outside of them self and consider their priorities and the goals they have reached with the goals they continue to pursue. Is it that every goal reached and every item purchased turns out to be less than the satisfying object that they thought would make them happy? Do they have to go on to another object to further pursue satisfaction? And the big question that is hardest to admit to, “is there really a point when a person reaches total satisfaction through materialism and wealth? The honest answer is NO.
What lengths have they gone and would they go to get what they want as apposed to what they need to live a truly satisfying life? If a person hides what they buy from their loved ones because they buy so frequently things they really don’t need, it’s a sign. If a person can ignore the sight of one who has no home, food or reasonable clothing, to feed their self pride, it’s a sign. If a person can never get enough and can pursue their goals or objectives at the sacrifice and expense of their loved ones, friends and family, it’s a sign. There will never be satisfaction for people who are lost in the addiction of materialism. They will always be looking for that which will satisfy themselves because they can not see that they are addicted. Addicted to what man wants them to seek, to acquire, to desire all to feed another mans (usually manufacturers) goals to satisfy his own pride, ego and greed.
For some very sad and unfortunate reason, most people don’t realize they are nothing more than pawns played by their own weaknesses, especially their pride driven selfishness until one day it dawns on them they have wasted the better part of their lives chasing goals based on artificial rewards and man’s own ideals. It is not until then that some, but only some blessed by the grace of God, realize they have been looking in the wrong place for success, satisfaction and happiness and an awareness of emptiness in their heart leads them in the direction of God. For some it will be an expensive and very long path. For others they will realize sooner and return as “the prodigal son”. Yet for still others, they will never realize until their time has come to an end and all they have to show for their life is nothing more than some man made objects that they possess. Things they held so valuable but suddenly will no longer have value because they can’t take it with them and they don’t truly know Our Lord. All they have is the fear of which eternity their life has earned them. Did you ever wonder why some of the poorest people monetarily can find such satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment with nothing more than their knowledge and love of God and their family? To pray that many may learn from the few.
31 Jesus said to them; "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew CH25; 31-46)