Lose.

July 2nd Sunday Readings.

When was the last time you experienced something that made you say, “That was IMG_1552amazing”? Recently, I was at a concert where the lasers, lights, music, and performance were so overwhelming that I kind of forgot where I was for a moment and just stood in awe. This past weekend I stood on the beach of a beautiful lake and got lost in the sunshine and trees and water. Playing a game with friends recently, I laughed so hard I was concerned I might pass out (seriously), and I lost track of time.

I think the experience that these moments all hold in common is this sense of forgetting myself. I was so overwhelmed with awe or joy or beauty that I lost myself. If I really think back about the most memorable and profound moments of my life (wedding day, birth of my children, etc.) those moments also seem to be when I stop thinking about myself and focus on another.

In the gospel this weekend, Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” I think this experience of losing one’s self is exactly what Jesus is talking about here. In other words, when we are able to forget about what we think we want or need, only then do we get to experience a life fuller than we could ever hope for.

As good as the concert, the sunshine, and the laugher was in helping me lose myself momentarily, it is really in moments of profound prayer and in helping others that I truly forget myself. The music faded, the sun set, and the game ended, but 10 days later, I am still thinking about the moment at the end of Mass over a week ago when I prayed a prayer of surrender and I lost myself in the Eucharist and music of Mass. It’s the faces of the children in Mexico or my own children that push me outside of myself and move me to lose myself more than a mere memory.

If you want to live the fullest life possible, then give your life your life away. Lose yourself; find God.

LIVE IT: Make 15 minutes this week to go and sit in a quiet, empty Church this week. If it’s Holy Name of Jesus, make your way into the Adoration Chapel. Be silent.

Enough.

Oct. 2nd Sunday Readings

I’ve run out of gas three times in my driving life. Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing. empty_gaugeWho runs out of gas multiple times? My first couple cars had “dummy” lights that turned on when I was getting close to empty, but my GMC pickup truck didn’t. Often I would try and push my truck’s range and three times, I went too far.

I don’t know if you’ve ever run out of gas, but fixing the situation can be complicated. Each time, I was too far away for my wife or a friend to come get me. Yes, I was that guy on the side of the highway who had to buy a $23, one gallon gas can in order to put enough gas in my truck to drive it back to the gas station and fill it up. I now have the most expensive collection of one gallon gas cans of anyone I know.

The gospel this week is about having “enough” faith. The disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. They want more faith, which doesn’t seem like a bad thing. Jesus responds by saying that if they even had a speck of faith (as small as a mustard seed), they could do completely radical, miraculous things (tell a tree to move and be planted in the ocean). So this part of the gospel says that even a micro-speck of faith is enough to do miracles. Cool.

On the other hand Jesus tells the story of the servant who does what is expected and doesn’t receive any praise for it. Jesus seems to be saying that we shouldn’t be too proud of our faith lives because doing what is expected isn’t particularly exceptional.

So, how much faith is enough?

When I was out of gas on the side of interstate 94, one gallon was enough to get my car started (yay!), but it wasn’t enough to really go anywhere (sad face). When you go to the gas station do you just pump in one gallon or do you fill up your tank? We fill it up all the way, right?

Same needs to be true about our faith as well. We don’t just go to God to get one gallon of faith. Sure, that would be enough to move a mountain or command a tree to move or maybe make us feel good, but it isn’t more than the bare minimum. We aren’t filled up with just a gallon, our capacity to receive God’s love is greater.

How much faith is enough? A very little is a lot and we can never have enough.

God is infinite, and thus his capacity to love is infinite. God is always ready, willing, and able to love us more. The fact is, we are limited in how much we can receive. The good news is that we can increase our capacity. How? By going back to Jesus, again and again to be filled to over flowing with his love and mercy. Then, and only by God’s grace, can we continuously grow our ability to receive God’s love.

May you and I seek to be completely filled with God’s love and never settle for just enough.

LIVE IT:
Grow your capacity to receive God’s love this week. Whatever you “normally” do for prayer in a day, add 2 minutes of silence. If you don’t normally pray, start with 2 minutes of silence. If you have a robust prayer practice, add two minutes of silence at the end.