By Lucy Johnson
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,
which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes
and sells all that he has and buys that field.
~ Mt 13:44-46
Of the many gifts I received from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, my understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven was one of the best. The Kingdom of God is not a place but a way of living and being. According to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, we are called to be disciples and “undertake a spiritual journey that is focused on Jesus Christ and his Kingdom of salvation, love, justice, and mercy. Jesus reminds us that this Kingdom is already in our midst…”
So how are we able to live out this call?
Surrender. Think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and pray with Him, “not my will but Yours be done.” Acknowledge that evil exists in the world. Pray, “Our Father…deliver us from evil”.
The seven deadly sins and their antidotes
Again, my revelation came during the Spiritual Exercises. I can live the Kingdom of loving and giving here on earth by acknowledging my sin and focusing on the antidote.
Through grace, I can choose to be humble instead of having pride. Choose contentment instead of envy, patience in place of anger, chastity instead of lust, temperance not gluttony, generosity not greed, and diligence/perseverance not sloth. Easier said than done, but not impossible.
Living the Kingdom of Heaven on earth
Heaven on earth is living the Kingdom that Jesus taught with his message of love, justice, and mercy. We need to love one another and treat them with the gentleness of Jesus.
May living the Kingdom of Heaven cause us to shine as we see Moses in today’s first reading. Moses was radiant in God’s presence. May we bring God’s message of love and light to the world. As we pray, “Our Father…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Father, help me to recognize those sins which prevent me from living and being in Your Kingdom here on earth. Amen.
Call to Action
Today, spend some time thinking about how you can build up the Kingdom. Which area needs the most help? Is it pride, anger, envy?
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