Friday, 3rd Week of Lent
Today’s gospel exhorts us to love God with all our being. Nothing must be allowed to rival God in our love or diminish our love for him. Any love that turns out to be a rival to our love for God or diminishes our love for him is not worthy of God. We must be willing to lose everything, even our lives, rather than displease God or displace him from our lives. We must desire everything that brings us closer to God and renounce everything that leads us away from him. Nothing is to be preferred to God. Everything must be subordinated to him. God must be loved above everything.
John Chambers has an intriguing point for reflection – he says: “Suppose we were given a choice: we could have a nice life here on earth or a nice life after death. What would we choose?” Perhaps some of us might say, “I’d choose both, a nice life before death and a nice life after death.”
Elaborating on this point, Chambers tells this story. Once upon a time, some devils were planning or ‘strategizing’ on how they could best tempt human beings. The first devil said, “Let’s tempt humans to forget God and to concentrate on their comfort, here on earth.” “Impossible” another devil said, “Most humans would reject a temptation to forget God.”
Then a second devil suggested, “Let’s tempt humans to be always thinking of God.” “Are you crazy?” Another devil reacted, “If humans always thought about God, then we would go out of business.”
A third devil suggested, “Let’s tempt people to give half of their time to having a nice life here on earth and half of their being to thinking about life after death.” “Very good!” said all the devils, “Let them think of God only half of the time and think of themselves the other half, giving first preference to life on earth!”
Remember our original question? “Suppose we were given a choice: we could have a nice life here on earth or a nice life after death.” “What would we choose?” If we chose a nice life here on earth in addition to a nice life in heaven, the devils would not be sad at such choice, especially if we gave preference to life on earth.
Let us not allow our concentration to be divided and make ourselves weaker. Let us love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.”