Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rejoice With Me

November 4, 2010
Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop

(But) whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:7-8a

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” Luke 15:4-6

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.
All I have and call my own.
Whatever I have or hold, you have given me.
I restore it all to you and surrender it wholly
to be governed by your will.
Give me only your love and grace
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.
- St. Ignatius, from the end of the Spiritual Exercises



Writing this the week of an important mid-term Election Day when the news is filled with stories about winners and losers, victory speeches and concession speeches, analysis and psychoanalysis, gives us added perspective on the mantra of gain and loss.

Even if we did not have the election events in our rear view mirror, the airwaves and media are always filled with who or what is up and down in the conventional wisdom or the business tales of the fluctuations of the Dow, the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 indices. Or the sports pages. Or the entertainment pages. Or the Miss America Pageant. Or the Super Bowl ads. Or the police blotter.

None of it matters.

If Luke was writing today, he would probably weave the parable of the lost cell phone or the lost driver’s license. St. Paul writes that he considers everything gained in the world while he was persecuting Christians to be a loss compared with knowing Christ.

What matters? Change matters. Change in our hearts, not in our pocket.

The angels will not rejoice in heaven when we find our lost cell phone. The angels will not rejoice in heaven when we find our misplaced driver’s license. The angels rejoice when we change our hearts so that our lives won’t revolve around making monetary transactions thanks to what is inside our wallet. The angels rejoice when we focus on human transactions that put love in our hearts into action for the greater good of others, not of self.

How will I change from the ways I have been conditioned to be by an advertising and media-soaked society to the ways I am encouraged to follow by Jesus?

Maybe I can start by skipping my evening fix of news about winners and losers and focus on something else one night per week. May I have the willpower to make it tonight?