Saint Alphonsus Liguouri, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Blessings come in many forms. It is not always easy to recognize them and beyond that we may appreciate the gift these blessings are for us. In discovering the Word, Jeremiah states, “I devoured them,” and that “they became my joy and the happiness in my heart.” Many of us know the hunger we feel in our lives as if something is missing. Like Jeremiah, we may have even discovered that the Word, and the Sacraments feed us. Yet even as we are given holy food our hunger can never be completely fulfilled. As Augustine stated, “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in You O Lord.”
Like Jeremiah, having this hunger fed is a great gift that often comes with obstacles. The prophet found that his passionate faith offered a witness that was not always welcomed. Jeremiah’s call to be the Lord’s mouthpiece was causing him great suffering. Even though there is suffering, the Lord promised Jeremiah that evil will not prevail.
The Lord’s promise is true for us as well! Thus on days of distress we must take refuge in the Lord. Yet often the Lord’s promise seems small and incomplete because of a loneliness or pain that is overwhelming us? As I reflected on these words I recalled a time in my own life when my ability to recognize and understand the Lord “as treasure” was obstructed. At that time, I was strongly considering joining a religious order. I loved the prayer life and being part of a dedicated group of men for whom Mary was the model and foundation for their life of discipleship. Though the year I spent living in this faith-filled community of brothers has changed me forever, towards that end of my live in I lost sight of the Lord and the joy of faith. I could not see the Lord’s love because I was overwhelmed by loneliness. As I allowed the loneliness to become the treasure of my life, I lost sight of my joy of the Lord and my love this community, so I moved out.
It took time, but eventually I rediscovered the joy of faith and a community in which to live. This community, my family, is one of the great treasures in my life. The Lord of course is our greatest treasure. Yet reading the Gospel today leaves me wondering, “have I given my all for this treasure?” These are the questions we all need to answer. Consider what are the pearls of great price in your own life? Have you given all that you are and all that possess to be in complete communion with your treasure?
Pray to the Holy Spirit to ask for the wisdom and understanding to recognize your treasures. Then ask the Lord to give you the strength and trust to give yourself completely for these “Pearls of Great Price!”
- Deacon Michael Montgomery