By Fr. Roy Cimagala
RATHER, everything should support, enhance, reinforce our relation with God. This is what we are reminded of in that gospel which talks about the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. (cfr. Mt 13,44-46)
These parables find an echo in some words of St. Paul who said: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ…” (Phil 3,8)
How important therefore that we realize that our first priority should be God and our relationship with him which should be sustained with the constant effort to know, love and serve him! We should be ready to throw away everything else that can stand in the way.
We have to make some adjustments in the way we order our objective needs. We have to distinguish them from our subjective likes and desires that can only be the product of some personal or social preferences. In this we have to employ the appropriate means, the relevant programs and operations. We should be demanding on ourselves insofar as this matter is concerned.
We need God first of all, and, in fact, all the time. He is our most important objective need, much more and infinitely more than we need air, food, rest, pleasures, etc. For without God, we are nothing. But with him, we can have everything. That is why, St. Teresa Avila boldly said: “He who has God lacks nothing. God alone is sufficient.”
We need to learn how to find God in everything we do or we see, handle or get involved in. In this, we have to be pro-active. We should not wait for some inspiration to come or some so-called favorable or conducive circumstances to take place. We have to actively look for him or create the occasion. We can always do this, because God himself empowers us to do so.
But in finding God in everything, there is a skill that we have to learn to master. And that is we should learn how to leave everything behind so as to be with God. We have to understand very well this particular aspect or requirement of an authentic Christian life.
That’s because, most likely, our first impression of it can be misleading. To be sure, to be ready to leave everything behind does not mean that we should have no concern at all about the things of this world. We do have such concern and interest. In fact, we should.
But yes, to leave everything behind has been more than amply taught and commanded by Christ himself. For example, to the rich young man who wanted to be perfect, Christ told him in no unclear terms, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Mt 19,21) These words obviously would give us the impression that we should possess nothing.
In another instance, Christ specifies what is required to be worthy of him. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt 10,37)
This does not mean that we should have no concern or interest in the things of this world. We just have to understand that the things of this world are precisely the means, the occasion, the instruments we have to use to show our faith, hope and love for God and for others!