Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Secret to Fulfillment

Two Sundays back as I listened to the readings at Mass I thought, "I can testify that this it true; I've experienced it."  The readings were all about what men and women need to experience true fulfillment.  The first reading (Wisdom 7:7-11) spoke of how Solomon desired God's wisdom more than power, riches, health, or beauty, and as we know from the New Testament, Jesus is the Wisdom of God incarnate (1 Cor.1:23-34).   The Responsorial Psalm was "Fill us with Your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!" (Ps.90).  The second reading (Heb.4:12-14) called for us to interiorize these messages, to let God's word "penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, [so that we can] discern [the] reflections and thoughts of [our] heart."  And then Jesus drove it home in the deepest way possible in the Gospel (Mk.10:17-30), when he invited the rich young man longing for God's Kingdom to not just obey the commandments but to "Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow Me."  Intimacy with Jesus, deep relationship with Him, is what every human heart longs for.  He is "the secret" to fulfillment - the secret He sent the Church in to the world to proclaim.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Kapler.  What do you mean you've experienced it?"  I've been on this earth for 39 years, and in that time there have been certain moments when I knew He was "touching" me - giving me a taste of this infinite love He bears for each of us.  It has come when reading Scripture, praying with others, praying "alone" in my room, while singing along to the radio, while sitting in the Lord's presence after Communion, and even in a sudden "flash" at the kitchen table.  Jesus, the experience of being loved by Jesus, has shaped my entire life.  His teachings feed the craving we have for truth, for reason and stability.  

Now, I still sin; I still make embarrassingly stupid choices at times - but I have never been able to get that far away because I know He is the only One Who can truly "fill" my heart.  He is my happiness.  He is my fulfillment.  He is that for all of us.  We are His creations, and we were made for union with Him.  St. Augustine's prayer said it best, "you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."

These fleeting touches we experience are gifts.  They make us yearn for the life that is to come, this life already unfolding in our souls through the Sacraments and prayer.  I have never found anything else that can substitute for it - money, laughter, the praise of others, physical intimacy, even being a father to the two most amazing people I've ever met.  Viewed as gifts from God, all of these are wonderful; but apart from Him they'll never bring the fulfillment we seek.  

Only Heaven is enough.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Phil.3:12)  

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