My Dear Seeker,
The evil one subtly lures us into distrusting God by convincing us we need more. If some is good, more must be better. (Reread my last letter for a fuller discussion about this subject.) How, then, does Jesus woo us into believing in and acting from a trusting heart? By using the same motivation, desiring more, but with a different object as its goal.
As I said before, desires are not bad, they fuel our choices, spark us into action, and can lead us to life. It is the goal of our desires that can be deadly. Remember Satan cannot create, so he must twist a God-given goodness into something harmful and hurtful.
Jesus also invites us to desire more. The more he encourages is to have more of God. We are to make choices based on our desire to trust God. This is the more he sought, it is the way of life he invites us to follow.
Every choice we see Jesus making is based on his desire to be united with the will of his Father in heaven. He made the choice to leave heaven and become poor for our sake, fulfilling the will of the triune God. He did not desire and seek after people’s good opinion. He suffered dishonor in the eyes of the world because he desired to live out of the Father’s heart toward humankind. Jesus cast himself onto the care of his Father in heaven. He trusted God for all, his daily bread, his ministry, and ultimately his life and death. He humbly depended on God for everything.
St. Ignatius said it this way: choose poverty which leads to dishonor which leads to humility. Yikes. Who wants to be poor and dishonored? It is definitely an upside-down world Jesus embodies.
A more contemporary way of understanding Ignatius’ insight is choosing contentment/simplicity which leads to suffering which leads to dependence.
When we make choices to be content living simply, and doing without certain things, we will suffer to some degree and suffering leads us to God. For example, choosing to ride your bike to work and leaving your car at home. This small but simple choice, made out of love for God’s world, reduces your carbon footprint but increases your inconvenience. Now you must suffer the weather, the time constraints, and the lack of flexibility that driving your car would allow you. You must trust God with your schedule, your safety, and your social calendar.
The starting point of the evil one’s strategy is the lure of riches/more. Jesus’ way of living starts with inviting us into humility. We want humility, don’t we?
Life will bring you many choices. The choice you make will be rooted in what you most desire. Your enemy will attract you toward a choice that will bring you worldly riches and honor. Jesus will attract you toward a choice that leads you to trust God more and to desire the will of the Trinity.
Every choice you make in life has these two options. Jesus would have you choose life.
With you on the journey,