September 3, 2012

Entrusted with a Pearl Beyond Price

Once there was an evangelist who preached the Gospel of Christ to a group of teenagers.  After hearing how Jesus died to set us free from sin so that we might inherit eternal life, I was so slothful and spiritually asleep, I questioned him, "Is that all there is?  Is the mystery of our faith really summarized in his death, his resurrection and his coming again in glory?  I have heard this all before, but is there anything more?"

Why was my heart so cold to the Gospel of Christ?  Although I wanted to live my life for Jesus, my soul was divided.  Desires for reputation and friendship and entertainment and many other things were not fully submitted to Christ.  I had not yet learned the importance of mortification and I practiced self-denial insipidly.  So even though I believed in the gospel and even though a small part of my heart belonged to God, there were areas of my life I was holding back and I lived too dissipated a life to really question the enchanting falsehoods I entertained.  My devotion was not whole hearted.  I was afraid of what I might lose.   Unwilling to let go of things I thought were so important, my heart was not open to the riches Christ yearned to lavish on me.  

Thank God for those whose hearts are generous in sharing the Word of God.  Over the years, many beautiful souls helped me see how our indifference is melted when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to the Lord.  At the time, the youth leader, instead of putting me in my place as I probably deserved, just looked at me and smiled.  There was a spark in his eyes which disclosed something that words cannot express, a kind of compassionate reassurance that only someone who really understands you can convey.  I wonder if this was the look Jesus gave to the rich young man?

Then Mr. Shopbell said something the gist of which moves me deeply to this day.   His exact words are lost to my memory, but what he entrusted to me is a pearl beyond price, "If you only really understood the Cross of Christ and the great gift He has given by moving you to believe in Him, you could spend a whole lifetime pondering those riches and never begin to exhaust the mystery that is there."

Thank you teachers, preachers, catechists, evangelists and parents who are faithful in telling the truth about God and spreading the message of our faith.  It is a labor of love and compassion, a real work of mercy.   Yet our hearts are starved for the truth and even the smallest drop of living water is enough to get us through the desert of falsehood we face.  The seeds you sew in secret will lead to an abundant harvest.  The Lord of the harvest will not allow your efforts to go without their reward.