Our Heavenly Home
Commercialism is all around us. It stares us in the face as we watch TV. Buy this fancy new vehicle and you will have a big smile on your face like this family…..maybe even balloons! Rush out and buy this new leather recliner and you’ll sleep like a baby…just like this guy. What you don’t have the newest infomercial gadget? Call now and we’ll send you two! We are bombarded with buy more, more, more stuff. What does all this consuming get us in the end?
Built for heaven
There is a story of a woman who had been used to every luxury and to all respect. She died. And when she arrived in heaven, an angel was sent to conduct her to her house there. They passed many a lovely mansion and the woman thought that each one, as they came to it, must be the one allotted for her. When they passed through the main streets, they came to the outskirts where the houses were much smaller; on the very fringe they came to one that was little more than a shack.
“That is your house’” said the angel.
“What!” said the woman. ”That! I cannot live in that.”
“I am sorry,” said the angel, “but that is all we could build for you with the materials you sent up.”
Earthly riches are not the answer
When we spend our entire earthly time building up treasure here on earth we are missing out on a lot. Not only do we hurt ourselves spiritually but we sell ourselves short in our heavenly destination. Life is not about how many classic cars we can collect or how big our house is or how many rare comic books, baseball cards or sport collectibles we own. Those things are all meaningless trinkets that we cannot take with us after our earthly existence has passed.
When our existence is centered upon our external appearance, our stature and how we are perceived by greater society than we are internally a very shallow person. Attention must be spent on the inward being, our soul, the most important aspect of our being. Our bodies will turn to dust our soul is eternal. Where that soul resides for eternity should be our highest priority. Material goods will not sanctify our soul, a strong spiritual will.
Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul. – St. Anthony of Padua
Wisdom of the saints
As you have followed my writing you have probably noticed that I rely heavily on the Church Fathers and the saints to back up my points. While researching this topic I found a fascinating excerpt from St. Maximos the Confessor. Read this over a few times and allow it to soak in.
‘When you find your intellect occupied pleasurably with material things and becoming fondly attached to its conceptual images of them, you may be sure that you love these things more than God. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”’
‘Scripture calls material things “the world”; and worldly men are those who occupy their intellect with these things. It is such men that Scripture rebukes when it says: “Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. . . The desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and pride in one’s possessions, are not of God but of the world.’
‘The self-indulgent person loves wealth because it enables him to live comfortably; the person full of self-esteem loves it because through it he can gain the esteem of others; the person who lacks faith loves it because, fearful of starvation, old age, disease, or exile, he can save it and hoard it. He puts his trust in wealth rather than in God, the Creator who provides for all creation, down to the least of living things.’
We need to keep in mind that as we focus on accumulating goods we expend a lot of energy. Think about it. When you have something nice what do you do? You strive to protect it. How do we protect it? We spend more money on security. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.
Who could count all those who have had wealth, power, honor? But their glory, their riches were only lent to them, and they wore themselves out in preserving and increasing that which they were forced to abandon one day. – St. Ignatius of Loyola
I think it’s important to remember this. Your casket is only big enough to fit you in it. The hearse does not have a hitch to hook a trailer too. The cemetery is only going to allow you to be put in the ground. Thus your possessions are not going with you. Instead someone else will be left to deal with sorting through your life. A few years ago we lost some very good neighbors who passed away within months of each other. As we helped clean out the house a comment made by a friend still sticks with me today. “You live our entire life and in the end you are reduced to someone else being left to go through your junk.”
We should make an effort to simplify our lives. Focus less on earthly goods and more on shoring up our home in heaven. Replace some shopping time with prayer time. God is seeking a personal one on one relationship with you. Make it happen. Your eternal home depends upon it.