In today’s world of economic uncertainty, some may say it is having a job, being able to make the mortgage, or providing the basic needs for one’s family. My ill mother’s response might be, ‘to be free of pain’, or to be able to leave the hospital. For the elderly, it may be the ability to live out their days in their own homes rather than going into a nursing facility.
Where our heart, time and efforts are focused will probably reveal what really matters, what really seems to be our idea of ‘happiness’...where our treasure is.
In today’s Gospel, the rich man in the parable deems his bountiful harvest and all the comforts and assurances which will be provided in his wealth as his happiness. However, his life will come to an end that night, and the question is: “...the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”
Many years ago, a dear friend counseled me that the ‘NOW’ was the only thing that should matter. This was at a time when our four children were very young, and I, as a very busy mother, was feeling overwhelmed with the planning for the upcoming family holiday gatherings, while trying to juggle my children’s schedules, renovating part of our home and beginning graduate school. I remember thinking, “Fr. Tom, you have no idea what it is like to try to handle all this! What do you mean, ‘...try to live only in the now?!!! How are all of these things going to be handled if I don’t plan ahead?”
I’m not sure how ‘far’ I have come in realizing that no matter how much I try to take responsibility for life events around me, that I may not really be ‘in charge’ of things. However, I probably am a bit wiser in realizing that it isn’t really my job to be ‘in control’ of things. Perhaps, it IS better to attempt to focus on the ‘NOW’, the present moment...and all that is happening with the people in my life at this moment.
There are times, when I am feeling scattered, and life is full of struggles and challenges, that my prayer comes out as a plea for help. However, for what am I asking for help? To try to figure out how I might handle my problems? To seek God’s help in doing the right thing? Or...asking God’s guidance and companionship in ‘being’ in the NOW...being present to those around me?
In my saner moments of reflection and prayer, I begin to remember that God’s Spirit truly is with me and that the important thing is to invite God into the midst of my ‘chaos’ of the moment. Once I re-member with my God, I am able to take a step back and let God’s Spirit work within and with me as WE attempt to meet the particular challenge or struggle of the day.
As we each face our unique challenges and struggles, I pray that I/we each take in a deep breath of God’s Spirit and allow God into our lives in order that we can see and respond as God’s presence to, for and with the people of our lives today.
Perhaps, by entering into the moment of the NOW with our God, we may truly discover that our treasure, our happiness, is in the ‘being’ with and for others, rather than only in the frenetic ‘doing’ that is our greatest temptation.
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