Saturday, June 26, 2010

God’s Grace At Work Within Us -By Fr. Bernard Reiser

God’s Grace At Work Within Us

My family’s farm was on the edge of a small lake. The water was surrounded by woods except for our shoreline. In a north bay, closest to the farm, was an island with a cluster of trees whose roots were no doubt nourished by the water that surrounded them. This island was a favorite place of mine when I was a boy; I would go and sit in the shadow of the trees looking at water all around.

One spring the rains came in abundance and continued into the summer. Soon, the ground around the trees was covered with water until at last the trees stood immersed in the lake. Slowly but surely,the trees died, overpowered by the same water that once nourished their roots. The island eventually disappeared and the trees, lifeless,fell and soon floated away.
When I think of the lake, the lovely island and the beautiful trees,I am reminded of the spiritual life of so many. People are like the trees growing beautifully on the island and the water surrounding the island are the things of the world, namely the materialistic and secular influences of our modern society. As the number of material things and worldly interests increase, like the water, they slowly sap the individual of their spiritual life and growth.

Matters of God become less and less important as our interest in secular matters increase. When we focus on the pocketbook and material resources, which we rely upon to pay for worldly desires and various entertainments, our dependence on God is lessened.

Soon, prayer loses its value; reliance on a fat checkbook takes the place of a Providential God. The life of the spirit becomes less and less important and slowly it is drained from the person’s soul. What can be seen, touched, felt and enjoyed over powers the unseen and the realities of a future life. The glory and joy of the Kingdom, which God has promised to the faithful, are no longer taken seriously. How quickly the things of the world can wash away the storehouse of the spiritual that has been built over previous years.

We all live on the island of the spirit and we are surrounded by the worldly attractions that oftentimes seem so appealing, so delightful and so much to be sought after. But, like the water surrounding the island, they slowly gain greater hold, greater power, over the spiritual trees in our life.

I urge everyone to take inventory on how worldly things are encroaching on their spiritual life. Are we losing our grip on the great principles and teachings of Christ that we gained in our younger years? Are matters of God slowly getting watered down, rendered less and less important?

It is good to regularly take inventory of where we are in our relationship to God and the spiritual state of our soul. Is our island of the spirit growing stronger and expanding, or is the “water” of the world encroaching upon our spiritual fortifications? Youth, middle-aged or senior, it is never too early to take inventory of your spiritual life and to evaluate where you are in your journey to Heaven.

Don’t wait until your spiritual island has been washed away by the waters of a worldly existence. Jesus once said: What profit does a man show who gains the whole world and destroys himself in the process.(Mark 8:36)

These Ramblings offer considerations as you fortify yourself against the worldly influences that could otherwise engulf you.

-- Fr. Bernard Reiser -

Page 150-151 Reiser's Ramblings

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