Sinead and Mark are two young adults.
Dear Sinead and Mark,
Hope you both had a great week! Met a young man today, just about your own age too, and he was very distressed. He was a bit of a show-off, I’m afraid, with his Doc Martins and fancy shirts and cuff-links, the lot. But for all that, there was a sadness on his face,- even a confusion. Something didn’t fit, for him. Money wasn’t a problem, I could see,- or maybe Money was the problem? He had lots of it, but he had that look of emptiness and weariness with life. Money wasn’t doing the trick, obviously. Most people know that, I suppose, but for my new friend, you could say (excuse the pun) ‘the penny hadn’t dropped’.
He had introduced himself as Aaron,- a good Jew, he said. Kept all the rules, knew all the 635 laws by heart from his childhood, and was a faithful observer of the Holy Sabbath. That’s what was killing him, he told me,- he did all of that, but still wasn’t happy inside. He had inherited lots of dough from the GrandDad and he loved the high life, – but still, he was searching for more. He figured if he could only DO something big, some great Deed, that then he would get the Great Reward,- he would have WON eternal life by his own sweat and blood and labour. Or if he could only BUY his way, he would spend lots of his cash,- not all of it, but lots of it-, and then would have It,- like he could buy a new this or that or th’other.
Aaron told me that earlier in the day, he had spotted the great Rabbi that everyone was talking about, that ‘Good Teacher’ as so many called him,- the Rabbi Jeshua from Nazareth. And when he saw the Rabbi, he went straight up to him and put his great struggle to him, -‘What must I DO?’, ‘What mighty deeds or actions must I accomplish, so that I would win this ‘eternal life’, this real life that would last all life long?’ He told the Rabbi that indeed he knew all the 365 laws, and kept all the commandments of the Torah or Jewish Law, but still wasn’t happy.
He told me that, even as he talked, he noticed the Rabbi looking straight at him, almost through him, and that the man’s eyes were filled with real love for him and for his good. But then, what came next smashed it all: the Master or Rabbi said ‘Go and sell all that you have, give it away to the poor, and then come, follow me!’ Sell what I have? Give my cash and savings away? Let go of all the stuff my heart clings to like a drowning man? He wants me to FOLLOW HIM! But he’s the poorest of the poor, and often has no place to lay himself down at night! I couldn’t follow someone like that, for all that he seems to be happy out, in himself. FOLLOW HIM? Let go all my belongings? They don’t make me happy for sure, but I won’t let go of them. I cling to money and things, like a barnacle does to a rock. I can’t budge! Or more honestly, I won’t budge. Who and what will I cling to? I’ll cling to my SELF! I’ll cling to my possessions. I know he wants me to follow him, but all that letting go of stuff and things and the power of my money-? No way. It’s beyond me. It would take a higher power than I have, to move me, to help me to let go. I’m stuck, he said.
When Aaron was finished pouring all this out on me,- and me nearly a stranger to him,- I looked at him too, and my heart went out to him. He was in a bind,- literally, he was ‘bound’ hand and heart by the Things of life. I was reminded, as I looked at him, of another young man in his twenties who went through all of the same struggle,- his name was Augustine, and he wrote about it later is his famous song of praise, The Confessions of Augustine,- a confession of thanks and praise to God who had indeed delivered him from all the things that ‘bound’ him, and eventually young Gus was able, by that Higher Power, to let go of Things, and cling to the Master, Jesus (that the same Jeshua that Aaron had met earlier today)- and Gus found everything he was really looking for,- he found Joy at last.
So, Sinead, Mark, the struggle of Aaron and of Augustine is the struggle of any one of us,- what do we cling to for Life? And the invitation of the Master goes out to us too as He looks at us with love,- ‘If you’re looking for Life, Let go… and then, Come, follow me! Why? Because I am the Life!’
I’m off to spend a while wondering What am I clinging to, or maybe Who do I want to cling to? Where will I find the pure Gift that is real Life,- and not keep asking ‘What must I DO?’ The question is not answered by any Doing, or Buying,- but by Letting Go, and then Receiving the pure Gift like a child does on Christmas morning,- with joy and dancing feet. ‘Let go, and let God!’ is a hard saying, but it’s worth the joy.
Enjoy your week, Mark, and you too, Sinead. Hope you will find your own answers to these words of the Master when you find him looking at you with love.
Keep a special intention in your prayers for me this coming days, please.
God bliss you and bless you both!
(My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. )
P.S. Click on Homepage on www.redemptoristsesker.ie/homepage to see info about a Weekend with the Redemptorists, this coming weekend of Oct.19-21st, in Marianella, Dublin. You’re welcome to just come along, spend time with us, chill out, ask questions, the lot. It’s a ‘Come and See’ weekend. Ta. Seamus