Ramblings from us as we strive to live a holy life in the world, not of the world.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Emptying ourselves of the temporal

"My heart is restless until it rests in You"
-St. Augustine

The science community has done studies that shows that humans are "hard-wired' to believe in God'. While within that community, it can become an excuse to try to understand people's need for faith, I think that it speaks volumes about what humans have already known for thousands of years.

The fact is that we may be 'hard-wired' to need God, but certainly that is the way that we were created. God did put a longing in our hearts for Him that we won't fully understand in this lifetime. But in His love, he has also given us glimpses of that love by allowing us the ability to love others because we are made in His image. It is in that love of others that we can have a partial understanding of the love and unity that we desire in this lifetime.

Unfortunately so many of us have made either a conscious or unconscious decision to turn away from God and remain restless because in our yearning for God, we replace Him for something else. St. Thomas Aquinas said that there are four substitutes that humans turn to for fulfillment: wealth, pleasure, power, and honor. While in the short-term, these substitutes can be fulfilling, ultimately they are only substitutes for what we really long for. Eventually we will become unfulfilled with them and seek more of them to try to fulfill our restless hearts. Like a drug, these things promise great things, but only deliver an addiction that will never make us happy.

When we turn to God to fill our hearts, then these substitutes will have no power over us. While we may have those things in our lives, they will be used to give glory to God and we will recognize what they are. 

Our culture has propped these substitutes us and made them more important than anything else and certainly they can provide us with comfort and pleasure, but they are not infinite and will only last a short time. If we always put ourselves first above everything else, we will never be happy. But if we can detach ourselves from these things then we will be able to see God's will for us in life and will experience lasting peace. 

As we approach Lent, may we be able to empty ourselves of those things that hold us back from that loving union with God.

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