1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
“Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
“Any of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
I’ve been working from home all week. There were some repair-emergencies on the house that kept me there to keep an eye on the workmen. They were working on plumbing, as well as some resulting water damage and electrical issues. No matter how much I tried, or how much I wanted to, I simply couldn’t find a way to justify taking the opportunity to recline at the house, sip a cool beverage, and ignore all my responsibilities.
So I set up my office in the kitchen. I made a list of projects and a timeline, began unpacking my laptop, many of my books and folders, pads and pens and pencils, several instruments, and of course my iPhone and iPad were both present. Everything was laid out, ready to be opened and used to its fullest capability. Friend, I was ready for action!
As I launched into all I had to accomplish, I recognized something that made me very uneasy (and no, it wasn’t the odor of the gentleman who was replacing a portion of that wall over there). I had been so focused on all this other stuff that I hadn’t yet fed our animals and gotten to hear their clucks and meows of gratitude. Or kissed my daughter good-morning and gotten a great hug.
I was so distracted by the things I thought I needed, that I completely excluded caring for and appreciating the gifts by which God has so profoundly blessed me. The items I carried to work that morning may have been necessary to complete my scheduled tasks, but they really shouldn’t have been the focus of my life. Is it the end result or is it the journey that makes our trip worthwhile?
And you know, it’s not just about “things.” We humans have this incredible capacity to carry tons of cluttered baggage in our hearts.
Grief from death? Still stings like a knife.
Pain from a broken relationship? It’s as real and acute as the moment it happened.
Hurt from something someone said? Yep… it’s palpable.
Guilt and regret from mistakes I’ve made? Oh, BROTHER, wow!!!
And hate and fear and…
The list goes on.
When we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by a tsunami of things and baggage, we close the door on our dance with presence of God – we shut the journal on what He is writing for us. And, friends, I really don’t want to miss out on that!
It’s true, in our world we must tend to our responsibilities… but where does our true heart rest? What’s keeping us from being a true disciple? What is it that we refuse to let go of? What tomorrows – what heavens are we denying because we insist on holding on to yesterday?
Dear God, thank you for the gift of your constant presence, even when we ignore You.
Please grant us the grace to shed the weight that binds, so we may have room for the true love and joy of Christ in our hearts.
Paul Puccinelli is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Rita Parish in Sierra Madre, CA, and a member of the retreat team at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center.