Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
How free can we all really become from our things? The truth is that phones, stuffed animals, homes and cars can end up owning us, if we are too tied to them. We don’t really hear what eventually happened to the rich young man. We know he initially “goes away sad”. After a lifetime of obeying all the commandments, Jesus sees that he is not really “free” and the challenge, likely after working hard to accumulate many things, seems too much for him to bear.
I’d like to think that after some time the man began to slowly try to become more detached. And I pray that this summer as we begin to return to a busier fall schedule, perhaps, we too might do more than just clean out the clutter of our shelves, but instead ask how we might make more room in our hearts for those nobody dares to possess. And move towards them empty handed to offer everything that is contained within us.
—Mike Hayes is the Director of Campus Ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.
I beg of you, my Lord,
to remove anything which separates
me from you, and you from me.
Remove anything that makes me unworthy
of your sight, your control, your reprehension;
of your speech and conversation,
of your benevolence and love.
Cast from me every evil
that stands in the way of my seeing you,
hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;
fearing and being mindful of you;
knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;
being conscious of your presence
and, as far as may be, enjoying you.
This is what I ask for myself
and earnestly desire from you. Amen.
—St. Peter Faber, SJ
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