Sunday, February 19, 2017

What do you seek?

John 1:38:

[38] And Jesus turning, and seeing them following him, saith to them: What seek you?

Luke 12:31:

[31] But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

I attended a retreat for singles yesterday, here in my home city of Edmonton, called "Come and Sit with Me". It was a day of reflection, and vocational discernment for single people aged 18-40. I won't go through what the whole retreat entailed, but I did want to share a part of it.

We had a two-hour silent reflection time, during which we were asked to reflect on the question that Jesus poses to two of His disciples in the first chapter of John, which I have quoted above. "What seek you?" Or, what do you seek, or what are you looking for?

In this exercise, we had to imagine Jesus standing before each one of us, and asking us this question, and how would we respond to Him?

As I was reflecting upon this, I found myself answering the question with things like inner peace, and virtue (which is really to say righteousness), and acceptance by others, and other things like these. After a while, I realized quite starkly that I hadn't answered this question with "Jesus", or "God", or "the Lord." This realization really hit home. After all, what were the two disciples in John's Gospel doing if not following after Jesus?

In the principle of "first things" (which, if you're not familiar with this, asserts that for there to be proper order and harmony in the world, first things must be attended to first, and second things second, and third things third, etc., and that it is by attending to things out of their right order that we introduce discord and destruction into the world, and that this is essentially what sin is: placing lower things above higher things, and higher things below lower things), we understand that God, being primary above else, ought to be pursued first, before all else, and to do otherwise is harmful to us.

And here I was, realizing that all the things I was looking for in my life were not the most important things. They were good and important things, no doubt, but they were not the most important things. And indeed, by seeking these things before first seeking God, I was actually keeping myself from attaining these things. I am keeping myself from attaining those things that I desire because I am not first desiring Him.

Jesus teaches us in Luke, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. In fact, that was the whole point of this exercise, as this is precisely the passage that the retreat leader quoted after we had completed our reflections.

As a result of this realization, and still during the 2 hour silent reflection time, I sat before Jesus in the Eucharist, in the Tabernacle, and simply spent time with Him. He offered to me as simple exercise, that I wish to take up, in light of this realization: to offer each activity of the day, at the beginning of each activity, to Jesus to bless and sanctify it. It's very simple, and very quick. I jump in the vehicle, say "Jesus bless and sanctify this trip," and I'm on my way. I sit down for a meal, "Jesus bless and sanctify this meal," and I dig in. I sit down to write a blog post, "Jesus bless and sanctify this blog post." It takes about 2 seconds, but I think it's going to be entirely worth it.

What do you seek?

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