The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

You Can't Take it With You

Today's Gospel (Mark 10:17-31) is one that has a humbling quality for me. A young man approaches Christ and asks him directly, "How do I get to Heaven?" Christ tells him, and he goes away sad because he has many possessions that he simply doesn't want to give up.

We all love Christ to a point. Each of us has a barrier to coming into to a deeper existence within the Christ mystery. Our lives are a continuous process of taking two steps forward and one step back as we move ever closer to Our Lord. And from time to time we might even do a little back sliding. Many times we plateau for long stretches. That was the issue with the young man in the Gospel. He obeyed all the commandments and was ready to move forward, and Christ revealed to him the mountain he had still yet to climb. Like the young man, we often look at the mountain and decide things are good enough at base camp. Taking the risk of losing self entirely to Christ seems daunting.

Yet climb we must to get to Heaven. Through grace, Christ helps us to see that perhaps we don't need to carry so much in our backpacks as we trek up the slope. Pride is the heaviest provision we tote around. Lust is probably second and maybe envy rounds out the top three. At least that's what seems to be in my pack. Examine your own conscience to discover what you carry around. Maybe it's anger or resentment. Maybe it's greed. Maybe it's glutony. The point is we all have these possessions that won't quite fit through that eye of the needle.

Perhaps the saints come the closest to reaching the summit. It would seem St Faustina and Pio were pretty darn close, and I believe John Paul II was close to making a final run to the summit before he died. The rest of us muddle around at these lower elevations trying to work up the courage to take that next step up.

I like this little story:

There was once a wealty man who was very pious and had a private revelation with our Lord. He told Christ that he would give all his wealth to the poor and dedicate his life to serving his fellow man if he could just bring one suitcase full of stuff with him to Heaven. The Lord smiled and said, "Okay, my son."

So the rich man kept his end of the bargain. For the remainder of his life he slowly gave away all his wealth and generously helped his fellow man. When he died he found himself at the gates of Heaven lugging a suitcase full of the stuff he really wanted to bring. St. Peter stopped him at the gates and said, "Hold on there, you can't bring anything with you." The man explained the deal he had made with Christ and St. Peter shrugged his shoulders and said, "Okay, but first let's see what you have in that suitcase." St. Peter opened up the suitcase and had a very puzzled look on his face. The suitcase was filled with pure gold bricks.

"Let me get this straight," Peter asked the man "Jesus said you could bring anything from Earth you wanted to bring, right?"

The man smiled and said, "Yes, that's right, is there a problem."

"No, I guess not," said Peter. "I'm just wondering why all all the things you could have brought with you from Earth into Heaven, you chose to bring paving stones?!"

Mother Theresa loved to be with the poor. I suspect it was partially because they are largely stripped of earthly possessions and have only their raw being. There's no pretentiousness about the impoverished; and yet in that destitute condition, they are closer to Christ than many of us will likely ever be in our time on Earth. They may not recognize it. In a struggle just to eat and stay out of harms way, praying the rosary may not be first on their priority list. But I suspect when they die Purgatory will be a short stay as they will have far fewer things to detatch themselves from before they run to Christ with complete abandon of self.


Post a Comment

<< Home