05 February 2009

Spiritual Savings

Sometimes we can be tempted to "save up" things that we think we will need in the future. On a practical material level, this is often a prudent decision. On a spiritual level, however, it does not always work the same way. We cannot have a "storehouse" of spiritual graces that we have saved up from another day. If, with the grace of God, we have overcome a tendency to speak unkindly of our neighbor, it does not mean that we will never again be surprised by that same temptation. We cannot rest comfortably upon our "savings account" of graces. We must depend upon the Lord to provide what we need each day.

In today's Gospel, when Our Lord asks the apostles to take nothing with them on the journey, we can think of how we sometimes might like to depend upon our own resources. There are times when this is appropriate, but if we become too confident in our own ability to spread the Gospel, to be faithful Christians, to resist daily temptations, etc., we can forget that it is the Lord who provides our needs. The material dependence that the apostles manifested when they cast out demons and preached the good news of the Kingdom, is a symbol of the spiritual dependence that we should strive maintain in our daily lives. For it is by the grace of God that are able to take even one spiritual step in St. Paul's "good race" that we all strive to run.

"This kind of favor requires to be offered by way of invitation, persuasion, and solicitation, not violently and forcibly thrust upon a man, and hence it is done by way of desire, not of absolute will. It is the same with regard to the signified will of God: for in this, God desires with a true desire that we should do what he makes known, and to this end he provides us with all things necessary, exhorting and urging us to make use of them."
St. Francis de Sales

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