"Let him desire and seek nothing except the greater praise and glory of God our Lord as the aim of all he does. For every one must keep in mind that in all that concerns the spiritual life his progress will be in proportion to his surrender of self-love and of his own will and interests."
- St. Ignatius of Loyola, SJ
"I, the Lord, am your God" by Anne Hansen
Today we are reminded of God’s commandments. They begin with a warning, “I, the LORD am your God…you shall not have other gods beside me.” They include the importance of honoring parents and holding the seventh day, the sabbath, holy; a day of rest to revel in the goodness of all God has bestowed on the world. In addition, the commandments admonish us not to kill, steal, lie, cheat or use the Lord’s name in vain.
Reading through the list of rules today was much like an examination of conscience and at the end I admit to initially feeling rather good. Killing, lying, cheating and worshipping false gods are not part of my life. Honoring my parents and keeping holy the Sabbath are part of my life so if this is about checking boxes, I felt like a winner.
On second glance and deeper thought could that extra pair of shoes or sweater just added to my closet be a false god? Could failing to fully listen to another contribute to the killing of their spirit? And, while Mass on the grass in this age of Covid is how part of Sunday is spent what about the rest of the day? Is it truly a sabbath day or does the need to accomplish or perform take precedence over resting and enjoying some of the glory of the world God has given us?
I plead guilty to being way too busy, way too interested in what’s in the closet and not always fully available when someone needs my attention. So, is this a public confession? Maybe, but these are also topics that I talk about with a few good friends who understand that what God is calling us to do is more than following the letter of the law and it is far more difficult. God is calling us to love God, and to love one another as ourselves, and if that is the priority then killing, lying, cheating and all the rest fall by the wayside. As we move into the third week of Lent may I suggest finding a friend you can talk to about these sorts of things. If you already have one offer an extra prayer of gratitude for that person. A life well lived, in accordance with the commandments God has given us, is much more than just following these commandments.