Best of Pearls

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Occasionally I'll look back and reflect on my life and the years in the fast lane, and what usually brings things to mind is when I see an expensive car or a fancy home.

In years past, those things meant a lot to me. They were a measure of success! Or so I thought! And when I find myself staring for a second or so at an expensive black BMW with tinted windows, I think — I could have had all that. I think to myself, Car, you've got the wrong owner! And then I check back into reality and keep my focus on the things that really matter in life.

All of us have a temptation or weakness for something in life. For some it is a car, others a boat, others jewelry, fancy clothes, or even a title after their name. Coveting is a desire to own or possess something owned by another. The Tenth Commandment tells us not to covet anything owned by another.

But how are we going to resist that? Saint Paul gives us helpful hints. He tells us not to set our sights on earthly things. And as St. Matthew writes, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroys, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroy, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart be" (Mt 6:19-21).

For most of us, knowing the problem is half the battle. Some of us never evaluate ourselves enough to even know our blind spots and weaknesses. We are so quick to judge others and see the speck in our neighbor's eyes that we fail to see the log in our own eyes. And if we know we have a problem area, avoiding the occasion of that temptation is the next problem we must face. We must try to avoid getting on the "slippery slope" at all costs. What is the slippery slope? It is analogous to an alcoholic going into a bar and telling himself he will not drink. We must avoid these near occasions of sin because we are weak and by not doing so are setting ourselves up for failure.

Certainly having money is not a sin. Jesus had many wealthy friends, and He ate and dined with them. Money is not the root of all evil; it is the love of money that is the problem.

Consider St. Faustina. Her whole desire in life was to become a saint and to tell others about the unfathomable mercy of God. That was her passion. What is your passion? Is it to be a person of stature, wealth, fame, and glory? Is it to drive the fanciest cars and go to the most parties? What is your priority? What is your passion in life? Saint Paul tells us to "run the good race" (1 Cor 9: 24-27). Ask yourself this simple question today: What race are you in?

Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy, a lay apostolate of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, encourages people to achieve a childlike trust in God, accompanied by a love of neighbor. I, for one, find great consolation in the promise of our Lord to St. Faustina: "Souls who spread the honor of My mercy I shield through their entire lives as a tender mother her infant, and at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Savior" (Diary of St. Faustina, 1075).

So, yes, I have my moments of looking and telling myself, Boy, I wish I had that car! But I realize that at least for me, it is not where I need to invest my time and energy, because the Lord has other work for me. For the world needs to hear of Jesus' Divine Mercy, and "the harvest is great and the workers few."

Today, ask yourself what race you are in and where you are going. If you don't know where you want to go, then any road will probably get you there. But consider working on building up treasure in heaven, because it will neither rust nor decay.

I'll close with a quote from the Diary of St. Faustina, as it sums up my desire for you today. Saint Faustina wrote, "It is my desire that souls should recognize You, Jesus, as their eternal happiness, that they should come to believe in Your goodness and glorify your infinite mercy." God bless and have a great day!

Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Learn how to start a cenacle in your area by clicking here.

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Linda - Jul 23, 2008

I lost my beloved husband 2 years ago. I lost not only my life partner but the future we had dreamd and thought about together. Your article reminded me that our lives are not just in our hands, but always in God's hands. The primary thing I have learned during my husband's illness and the grief and struggle I have faced since his death is trust in Jesus as my Friend and Helper in all things.I don't know where God will lead me in the future, but I'm not looking back. I'm looking forward to Heaven.

steph - Jul 14, 2008

thank you for this great article .I certainly is something to think about.