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August 27, 2006
Barking Up the Wrong Tree?There are two popular Gospel stories that refer to the overabundance of riches and material things (which happened to be in the liturgies of the weekday Masses this past week). They both refer to the idea that people who are overwhelmed with riches and material things will have great difficulty relating to God and ultimately getting into heaven. Sr. Marguerite Zralek, a Dominican sister, has a different slant on this picture. She says that possessions can also refer to overstuffed senses. How many of us have ever thought of these gospels as giving that message?
As I reflected on this concept I couldn’t help be think of very definite examples which referred to Zralek’s interpretation. There are at least three areas of many people’s lives that are affected by a corresponding overabundance of possessions in the area of our senses. These areas affect people who are Worriers, Controllers and the Intellectuals and the famous people who have a combo plate of any two of the above and sometimes a full course of all three. Let’s take one at the time.
Worriers are people who are consumed with thoughts that overwhelm their senses. They constantly think of things they cannot fix or perhaps even do much about. The real problem is that worrying invades their minds like vines invade gardens or fronts of houses. It takes over and, if left unchecked, can proceed to make the person sick. Even worse, a worrier has no time or energy to spend any time at all listening to God’s gentle and reassuring words in life. Their entire being is consumed with the possession of their own “power” and they are unable to allow themselves the possibility of letting go and letting God take over.
Controllers are people who have a similar problem. People who need to have things under control are also people who use all of their time and energy thinking about how things can and must be handled if things are to run smoothly, efficiently and harmoniously. This type of demand on any human being is nearly if not completely impossible. The result, again, is one that leads the person to a point of being overwhelmed and frustrated with little or no time for God’s “intrusion” in their lives. The result is a very poor is not non-existent relationship with God.
Then there are the intellectuals who spend all their time overloading their minds with information they may or may not need or, may or may not ever be relevant to their lives. This matters not as long as they pursue their obsession with filling themselves up with stuff or ideas.
Now, we all have a part of us that can relate to one or more of the above. I for one can ashamedly admit that I can score a perfect 3 on 3. But even if we are filled with only one of the above we can well understand that prayer can be difficult. We have no problem making lists of things to ask for but the problem comes when we must quiet ourselves in order to listen to a response God so passionately wants to convey simply because God wants to relate to us in a loving, gentle and compassionate way. We are simply overstuffed with things to think about and worry about. Maybe we can begin our work of unloading some of our “baggage” this week.
Good Luck everyone!
Lorette P. Nault