Lately I have been re-reading the Story of a Soul, by St Therese. I’m reminded of how this woman understood the power of love. She quotes a famous scholar with once saying, “Give me a lever and a fulcrum and I will lift the world.” But Archimedes didn’t fully understand the power of this statement, because his thought process was driven from a material point of view and not directed toward God. She states that what Archimedes lacked, the Saints have obtained in all its fullness. She continues, “The Almighty has given them as fulcrum: HIMSELF ALONE; as lever: PRAYER which burns with a fire of love, it is in this way they have lifted the world.”
So I’ve been reading the news lately and I wonder what is going on in this world. People are so thirsty for more. We live in a land of excess and it’s still not enough. We work ourselves to death to build these castles in the sand, figuratively and literally. I was reading about Dubai the other day, a middle eastern city where they have literally built this resort getaway town on sand. They have man-made islands in the shape of a palm tree, another group of man made islands, titled “The World” resemble the seven continents, all of these geared towards resort getaways, financial firms or big corporate offices. Billions of dollars have been poured into this city, and the sad thing is, no matter how big, how fancy they make it, people will still be thirsting for more. There’s also been a lot of talk about Tiger Woods and his current accident. I don’t know the facts and I don’t know if we ever will, but what it appears is that here is a man who has everything and is still thirsting for more.
All of this reminds me of the woman at the well. Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) When we strive after material things to satisfy us, we will always leave thirsting for more. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again.” Living as a missionary I have discovered the beauty and freedom that comes from living simply. It’s crazy, as we draw closer to the Lord we need less and less things to satisfy us. St Therese says, “the closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.” Recently due to the decline in our economy I have seen people become slaves to their possessions. They have to work and work just to afford their house or their vacation or their new car. Then they never really get to enjoy them because they are worrying about how they are going to pay for the next thing.
Jesus once said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt 6:19-21) Where are our treasures, where are our hearts, are they internally focused or are they externally focused? Are they focused on how we can obtain the next greatest gadget or are they focused on how can I meet the needs and truly love the poor around me?
We were made for love, we are called to love. Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. Why is love so powerful? It is the universal language, everyone understands it, it is the deepest desire of our hearts, to be loved and to love. Even the hardest of hearts can be moved by the simplest act of love. St John of the cross once stated, “The smallest act of pure love is of more value to the Church than all other works together.”
I pray that we can love like the Saints, that we may recognize that we “are no longer strangers and sojourners, but we are fellow citizens with the Saints, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets[upon the rock of Peter] Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.” (Eph 2:19-20) Let us be hearers and doers of the word, lest we be like those that Christ describes, “and every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house [or city] upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” (Matt 7:26-27)
I pray that we can always keep Jesus as our fulcrum, and may our lever be a fervent prayer life which burns with a fire of love, “and it is in this way that they have lifted the world; it is in this way that the Saints still militant lift it, and that until the end of time, THE SAINTS TO COME WILL LIFT IT!”