Thursday, October 14, 2010
Burning within Us
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way…” Luke 24: 32a
What do you want out of life?
Whenever I am doing a retreat for teens and I ask this question most of the responses are: college degree, a good job, money, stuff, marriage and a family, be successful, etc. But these answers show us a potential means to an end. They have to dig a little deeper to see what they really want. And when we dig a little deeper, I think it is obvious that the top four things we ALL want are happiness, love, purpose and peace. None of us want to be miserable our whole lives, or grow old and lonely. None of us wants to say at the end of our lives that all we did was sit around wasting natural resources. None of us likes living with regret, guilt and stress.
So why do we all want these four things? Because God made us this way and He made us this way so that we would find Him. They are like four spiritual homing beacons implanted in our hearts at the moment of our conception. And nothing can take them away from us. In fact, every good and bad decision in life will revolve around one of these four desires for happiness, love, purpose and peace. Some people will literally destroy their lives trying to fulfill these desires because they try to find them in everyone and everything but Jesus. Even St. Augustine, one of the most notorious sinners turned Saint once said, “Our hearts are restless O God, until they rest in Thee.” And so we go on searching and seeking and looking. God keeps drawing us to Himself, whether we know it or not. And yet we keep trying to find happiness, love, purpose and peace in the world. But we were not created for the temporary, we were created for the eternal. And so everything and everyone in this life will leave us disappointed or unsatisfied.
As Pope Benedict Xvi said to the Catholic students of Great Britain last month “Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is simple—true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only He can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.”
May we all come to discover sooner rather than later, as the disciples on the road to Emmaus, that only in relationship with Christ, will our hearts burn within us. Until then, our hearts will continue to feel empty and ever restless.
Dear Jesus, I want my heart to burn from union with Your Sacred Heart. Give me the grace to see that only in You will I find true happiness, love, purpose and peace. Never let me make choices that will leave me disappointed or unsatisfied. Amen.