The world seeks freedom in the accumulation of possessions and power. It forgets that the only people who are truly free are those who have nothing left to lose. Despoiled of everything, detached from everything, they are “free from all men” (1 Corinthians 9:19) and all things. It can be truly said that their death is already behind them, because all their “treasure” is now in God and in him alone. The people who are supremely free desire nothing and are afraid of nothing. All the good that matters to them is already guaranteed them by God. They have nothing to lose and nothing to defend. These are the “poor in spirit” of the Beatitudes, detached, humble, merciful, meek, peacemakers.
Imagine for a moment what you could learn about God’s revelation if you would set aside for just one day, even just one hour, your need to be right, your need to be safe, your need to be in charge. Imagine if you set these aside and fully, truly accepted that the Lord would never leave you to destruction, never forsake you to an eternal death. What could you learn? How would you grow? Think for a moment about the locks you put on your trust, on your love, on your hope. How many are there? Can you count them? Do you believe that hoarding the gifts God has given you will earn you compound interest in heaven? Or that a cautious, meager charity will benefit you in the long run? Gifts left unused for the good of your neighbors will eventually atrophy and die, leaving behind a bitter waste, an angry, soured soul. There is nothing child-like about living your life in resentment and disappointment. Our Father will never abandon us. What is there for us to fear? Nothing. Nothing at all.
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP, Ph.D., Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!, “Only the child-like”.
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve –
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for help, that I might do greater things –
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy –
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life –
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for –
But everything that I had hoped for.
Despite myself, my prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
~Prayer/poem written by an anonymous Confederate soldier during the Civil War via Michael Wade blog Execupundit