By Lynne Keating
“for a perishable body weighs down the soul,
and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.”
Today’s Gospel makes people squirm: Anyone who doesn’t renounce all possessions and even the people they love – cannot be a disciple?
Really, is that even possible?
I’m a slow learner. So here’s how God answered me.
I once had a dream – one of those extremely rare dreams that emblazons itself on your mind and heart, perhaps on your very soul. You never forget it; every detail remains crisp and clear even over the span of many years. (After I wrote this, I wondered why I chose the word “emblazoned,” so I looked it up.) The Oxford dictionary explains that an emblazoned thing becomes “a heraldic device.” So, yes, I guess that’s what this dream became – a heraldic device.
I had just finished walking across a somewhat muddy field. When I looked back, I realized it was a minefield. In the dream, I felt my knees weaken with fear, and my whole body shook, looking back over what might have been. That was it – nothing more. I woke up with the dream still very real in my mind, and for a moment, I wondered if it really happened. Was it a memory? No. No, it was just a dream. I shook it off and went about my life. But I never forgot it.
Years later, our Bible group had a few interesting discussions: on the fall of Lucifer – he just didn’t have enough of the power he wanted; the fall of Adam and Eve – they just didn’t have enough of the big picture they wanted; the Apostles, arguing over which of them was the greatest and who should have the first place – they just didn’t have enough of the prestige they wanted.
Pondering these things, I worried about my inability to entrust everything in my life to God. I had responsibilities – family, finances, health, civic duty, and – oh my gosh – prayer time! I never had enough peace in those areas to safely (and proudly) place them in God’s hands. I had spent my life acquiring more money, more houses, bigger houses, more cars, more food, and more furniture. My whole life was one big “not enough.” Then the dream came to mind.
“What is it, Lord? What am I missing here?”
Waiting in silent thought, one of the saddest voices I ever heard floated across my mind, “I was not enough for them – my apostles. I was not enough for Adam and Eve. I was not enough for Lucifer. So the question is, daughter, will I be enough for you?” I cried when I heard His question. I cry every time I remember it.
The old dream showed me that though I walked across a minefield, oblivious to the destruction that could have overtaken me at any second, God was enough to get me through. Nothing I could acquire on my own – possessions, prestige, or people – could have saved me. God alone was enough.
“Yes, Lord. You are enough for me.”
Lord, help me to lean on you and to make of my meager offerings a tribute to my trust in You.
Call to Action
Are there areas in your life where you can begin to embrace and celebrate poverty – a poverty of Spirit or of understanding or of possessions? Why not start today?
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