In Conversation With God Weekly Reflection
18th Week of Ordinary Time: To Be Rich Before God

By Francis Fernandez-Carvajal


4/48.1 Only God can fill our heart.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth, exhorts Saint Paul in the Second Reading of the Mass.[4490] Things of the world last a relatively short period of time and they cannot fulfil the longings of the human heart.

The life of man on earth is brief.[4491] The greater part of it is spent in pain and suffering. Every life passes like the wind; barely a trace is left behind.[4492] In the best of cases, one might amass a great fortune only for it soon to be left to others. What does all this pain and effort add up to? Is it all for nothing? As we are reminded in the first reading: Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.[4493]

In the face of this emptiness and inconsistency, all this pointlessness, God is the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise![4494]

Nevertheless, the human heart has a tremendous capacity to seek the things of the world without paying any attention to the transcendent meaning of life. The human heart tends to become attached to worldly goods as the one and only goal in life, forgetting what is really important. In today’s Gospel, the Lord takes advantage of a question about inheritances to teach us about the true worth of things in the light of eternity.[4495] He brings up the subject of death, of our own death, to make his point: The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones ... And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry’.

The Lord teaches us that putting our hearts into the pursuit of wealth and worldly well-being is foolishness. Neither happiness nor authentic human life itself are founded on worldly goods. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.[4496] The rich man discloses his ‘value system’ in his mental dialogue. He sees himself in a very secure position because he has great resources. He bases his stability and his happiness on this wealth. For him, as for many people, living is a matter of enjoying as much pleasure as possible. It is to do as little as need be, to eat, to drink, ‘to have a good time’, to lay up ample goods for many years. This is his ideal. In his life there is no reference to God, much less to other people. He sees no need to share his goods with others less fortunate than himself.

And how does he plan to maintain this thoroughly materialistic lifestyle? I will store ... Yet in the end, all of his calculations are for nothing. The things of this world give a fragile and insufficient security since our lives will never be fulfilled without God.

We can ask ourselves today during this time of prayer, ‘Where is my heart?’ Because we know that our destination is Heaven, we have to make positive and concrete acts of detachment with regard to what we own and what we use. How much do we share our goods with the needy? How much time and wealth do we contribute to apostolic works?

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[4122] cf Luke 10:27

[4123] Lev 19:9-10

[4124] Lev 19:18

[4125] Luke 10:25-37

[4126] Cardinal M. González Martín, Free, in Charity, p.58

[4127] ibid, p.59

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Francis Fernandez-Carvajal,

Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.

Francis Fernandez-Carvajal,

Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.


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