Having less while striving to getting more
Looking around, we can realize we constantly face this paradox in our life: The more we have, the less we have.
Our life is constrained by our human limitations. Being aware of such limitations, we yearn for our personal fullness. Being aware of how much we lack, we yearn for abundance.
So we spend our life trying to grow, striving to fulfill our existence amidst our limitations, trying to possess whatever it is that we miss.
Alas, we often try to quench our thirst for greatness with a simple mirage. We drink from streams that appear to gleam, but don't even exist. In consequence, instead of quenching our thirst we end up even thirstier, needing more, and more, and more.
We convince ourselves that to be better, we must wear clothes that other people — equally thirsty — have tagged as “fancy." People dress their bodies in these clothes while their souls remain naked.
We can find people who convince themselves that to be someone, they must relate to others — equally thirsty — who have been tagged as “important.” They seek the friendship of those with higher rank at work. They try to become the favorite of their superiors in their religious congregation. They try to become close to the bishops in their diocese. They befriend the ones with the thickest wallets in their social circle. Nonetheless, the reality is that the more important people they know, the lonelier they are.
Then the void needs to be filled with the more sophisticated gadgets, the newer smartphone, the largest TV or the most modern virtual reality device, while people remain unable to look at their inner selves and find that owning all that technology doesn’t make anyone better or worse than the rest.
“Do not wear yourself out to gain wealth, cease to be worried about it; when your glance flits to it, it is gone! For assuredly it grows wings, like the eagle that flies toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:4-5)
I always find social networks amazing. They are used to socialize, of course, to find good old friends from childhood and to meet new people who live across the globe. At the same time, social networks seem to be the arena of a fierce race to collect the largest number of contacts. Some have lists of hundreds of friends, some even of a few thousand — because very deep inside, their loneliness, their need for other people, is that big. Amici multis, amicus nemo, a wise man from Rome used to say: Whoever has too many friends, is a friend of no one. Regardless of how many contacts are listed in his social networks.
It is a fact that our earthly life is limited. It is also a fact that we seek transcendence in our life because we were created for the Highest, and those who thirst shall drink the water of a real spring and not a mirage, no matter how gleaming it appears.
Those who think they need important friends, fancy clothes and the latest and greatest smartphone to be someone have forgotten that it is enough to be themselves. Indeed, every person created by God is unique and unrepeatable. God created us to find the fullness of our existence in God himself. Every son and daughter of God is unique and special. It is in that uniqueness that we can find our greatness.
St. Augustine well said to the Lord, "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Only in God will we find the plenitude that completes our human limitation. Only in God will we have more than we’ll ever need. Only through God will we transcend our smallness and reach the infinite.
Be passionate about our faith!
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - September 2017
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- Faith and Finances - Celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank
- Faith and Finances - Use ‘reserve funds’ to save for the future
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