By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE need to be clear about what our real treasure is. It’s God. It’s when we achieve the fullness of our humanity. And that can only happen when we ultimately become God’s image and likeness, which is how God wants us to be.
Thus, in the gospel of St. Matthew we hear Christ telling us, “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.” (Mt 6,19-21)
We need to be most wary of our strong tendency to be trapped in earthly things and values. In this regard, we have to be constantly guarded, our heart in the right place, employing the pertinent means to keep us with the right focus and intentions.
We need to see to it that even as we immerse ourselves as deeply as possible in our earthly affairs, we do not lose our sense of heaven and eternity, our primary relation with God. In fact, the ideal is that as we go deeper in our temporal affairs, our sense of heaven and eternity should also become sharper.
This is always possible and doable as long as we are guided first of all by our faith rather than by our feelings and by our merely human estimation of things. Let’s always remember that it is our faith, our Christian faith, that gives the whole picture of our life—where we come from, where we are supposed to go, the purpose of our life here on earth, the true value of our mundane concerns, etc.
Let’s be theological in our thinking and reaction to the things of this world. For that, we of course would need some training. It should consist of always referring things to God, whatever they may be—good or bad, a success or a failure, a victory or a defeat, etc. We need to feel the urge to do so.
In short, we have to keep our spiritual and supernatural bearing which should involve a certain detachment from the things of the world. For this detachment to be lived, we should assume a certain spirit of gamesmanship or sportsmanship, since the effectiveness of our earthly affairs is not so much in whether we win or succeed in them as in whether we manage to refer them to God whatever the outcome.
We try to do our best to win in whatever endeavor we do, but just the same, whether we win or lose we remain happy and assured that we are all friends, brothers and sisters, and children of God.
The detachment involved here can be of the heroic type as illustrated in the gospel. “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble,” Christ said, “cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” (Mt 18,8-9)
In this regard, we cannot overemphasize the need to meditate on heaven often. It’s never a futile exercise. Heaven should so elicit in us the strongest desire and passion that we would be willing to sacrifice everything else, including our honor and life itself.
Email: [email protected]