Tuesday, September 17, 2013

...in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

Catholic 101

One God. There is only one. Yet how many things reach god-like status in our lives? Those things, whatever they may be, seem so silly and trivial compared to the maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. Maybe it's because God's work is on such a grander scale that it's hard for us to even contemplate, much less attain a relationship with the Maker. But really, what do I have to gain from expending my time, energy, and brainpower on insignificant pursuits? I often forget to take the long view, and instead get caught up in the moment, basing my actions on what will best serve me that day. Living in the moment can be a positive and virtuous endeavor, but I do see in my own life how it sometimes trips up my ability to focus on the prize. "Set your heart on the higher gifts, on the things that come from your Maker in Heaven" (1 Cor. 12) comes to mind. What would it be like, if we all lived every day with the assurance that the end of the story is good? If we made decisions based on the things that will matter at the end of life, instead of whatever might bring the most pleasure to the day? 

I spent several years when I moved to Chicago working with the elderly, and the faith I saw among bodily pain and decay was truly inspiring. I always got the sense that these folks knew with assurance, although this phase was challenging, that the end was good - and it was coming. In spite of constant physical ailments, loneliness after the loss of spouses and friends, and inability to carry out daily tasks that once seemed mundane, I saw peace. I recall being at Mass with my grandpa a few years ago, watching him struggling to kneel, and thinking "Wow. Never has it been so clear that we were not made for this earth, but for something much better." I can't say I'm entirely eager to reach old age, but I can't help but be in awe of the way that age seems to strip away the little things, and leave just what matters. May we always be conscious of the things in our lives that are of our One God who is almighty!

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