Thursday, July 19, 2012

Name your Master(s)

God, sometimes places us in quaint places where were are forced to confront the dark areas of our soul. A la Johari's Window but it is in these dark places where our secret sin festers and bondage remains hidden. We find ourselves, committed Catholics, truly seeking the Kingdom of God, when we come face to face with the Master. Then the old drama of the Rich Young Man (Mark 10:17-31) plays out...

"Lord, what must I do to love you more each day"
The Master will point at the one treasure of your soul and ask you to give it up.
"You cannot serve two master!"
                                                    - Matt 6:24
It is impossible to be truly free without complete detachment and our attachments are undoubtedly to our treasures. Secret treasures like ambition, pet idiosyncrasies and even persons or possessions will eat you from within like a slow undetected cancer. You will be much anxious to be rid of it but your lust for it will be too strong...

Gollum's Bane."My... preciousssss"

This is when we need a Saviour. I think most of us would know that mammon has a great sway over our souls but do you know the masks that mammon wears.

Ambition. It may or may not have anything to do with the paycheck but the driving desire to rise, outperform, perfect can effectively cancel out the light of God's grace. God is our Provider and we are always in the position of the receiver. We have not done or ever will do anything without Him. 

Even the slightest degree of ambition is an indication of self-desire and aspiration apart from what God has ordained for us. When God made Adam, the garden was ready for him. Adam served God by tending to the plants and animals. He had not taken the garden as tithe unto himself and tried to bring forth his own by the sweat of his brow.Whether the garden flowered or wilted, it was the Almighty Father who provided for all his needs. Our focus at all times is to serve God through our work, our love, our service and yes, even through our devotion.

My work has been a great blessing in this space. I came to realise that I harboured great dreams of might and highness deep in the corners of my soul only when I was given a role which fired my inner Balrog. I was severely disturbed. The only way I could be free of fear of man and listen to my Christian conscience is to reject all ambitions for myself.

I call to God, the Most High,
to God, who supplies my every need.
                                            - Psalm 57:2 

Was it a struggle? Oh yes! For days I fought with myself, checked my every thought, appealed to all the saints and angels to intercede for me. Through difficulties and humiliations at my job, I gradually surrendered, bit by bit. 
Old demons, die hard.

So, do I still struggle with pride? Yes. The enemy, like a roaring lion is ever waiting for any unguarded moment. But for every fight that leaves me tired and disheartened, there is a peace that surpassed all understanding, there is a liberation that makes you skip like calves let out of a stall (Mal 4:2)

And when you are ready to give up; remember...

"When the storms to temptation burst upon you, when you see yourself driven upon the rocks of tribulation, look at the star, call upon Mary. When swallowed by pride or ambition, or hatred, or jealousy, look at the star, call upon Mary. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of your soul, look at the star, call upon Mary."                                       
                                                            - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux