“It is just what they deserve: that they who inordinately seek and follow pleasures, should not enjoy them without confusion and bitterness.” (IC 3,12,3) | “Men of rank, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love what is vain and seek after falsehood?” (Ps 4:3)

|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XII: ”Of Learning to Acquire Patience and to Fight Against Concupiscence” (first entry)

In this chapter, Kempis has Christ advising the disciple on patience in adversity. The Lord does not wish to take away our challenges and difficulties but wants us to grow spiritually stronger through them so we can endure the trials of this life and even the fires of Purgatory that may await us in the next life. In the quote above, Christ tells of what befalls the worldly person who may seem to have it easy but ultimately finds no peace in the passing fancies of this life.

|Today’s Responsorial Psalm: Ps 4:2-3, 4-5, 7B-8

This short song has the Psalmist imploring God’s help in times of trouble while urging God’s people to repent of sin. This is the formula for peace of heart — not vanity and lies.

|Reflection

Is it not so often the case that those possessions or activities that we think will satisfy us, ultimately do not? Yes! we finally got that fancy automobile for which we have been working long and hard. But it still just gets us from point A to point B. Beside, my neighbor just got a newer, better model — blast him! Or what of the lottery winner who becomes miserable due to all the unwanted fame, unending requests, and foolish investments; more than a few have committed suicide ultimately. The examples are countless. St. Augustine had it right:

Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, O God.

Of course “confusion and bitterness” are the result when “you love what is vain and seek after falsehood.” When the focus is on satisfying ourselves in this mortal coil, we do not have peace. We are bound to wonder, “Is this all there is to life?” The lie that, “It’s all about number one” is quickly dispelled in our drive for “stuff.” How many family members, friends, colleagues, clients, neighbors, citizens, are to be ground underfoot due to a pursuit of the “golden goose”?

We are warned of a self-centered, worldly perspective in Scripture:

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator (Rom 1:25)

From God alone comes the fullness of truth. God is Truth. May our worship be of Him alone and reverence of Him be above all else. May we never set Him aside for anything in the world.

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler (1889) by Heinrich Hofmann

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