Reflections for October are by Archbishop David Macaire, Archbishop of Fort-de-France, Martinique
Readings: Wisd.7:7-11; Heb. 4:12-13; Mk. 10:17-30
“Love only Jesus and Jesus alone before all things.”
So said an old monk on receiving a young novice to the Monastery. This (novice) all trembling, young and passionate, asking to enter the Monastery with a certain exaltation! He loved it, he wanted it, he desired to embrace the monastic life, all of the monastic life. Every aspect of this vocation amazed him: the surroundings of the monastery enchanted him and seemed to him to be the most beautiful place on earth, the monastic habit was for him the first step towards sanctity, he considered the superior to be a saint and the brothers as the deepest spiritual persons of the world. He loved the friendship that he witnessed among the young, he loved the benevolent look of the elders, he loved the atmosphere of the community as well as the building… he loved everything. As for the Rule or the Liturgy they brought before his eyes the completion of the Spirit and human art. Even the joyous dog of the Monastery was for him a reason to enter into Religious Life. But the old novice-master knew that all these things could wither one day in the eyes of the young man. Perhaps it might even have been better if they did … For only Jesus should count.
In fact, this young monk was running the risk of resembling the rich young man! Even though he had already “left all” to enter the monastery, has he really entered into the plan of God?
In effect, one often thinks that the wrong of the rich man of this gospel is that of having refused poverty and having preferred the riches and the opulence of his situation. This may be true but something else plays behind this question of material goods. He was, on the other hand, rich with spiritual goods, as he had always followed the commandments from a young age! And let us say frankly that one does not know which of the two riches hampered his sincere desire for “eternal life”…Certainly both of them!
Be that as it may, the problem of the rich young man or that of our young monk is the same. They pass at the side of the Love of God. In other words it is only in the frame-work of a history of exclusive love of Jesus Christ that our happiness and liberty lie. The riches of the young man are his goods, his fidelity to the commandments and his moral uprightness; the riches of the young monk are his community, his monastery, his brothers … All of this is good and full of merit but all of this is not the CHRIST.
God is simple. We are complicated! The old monk fashioned by regular life, transmits then a treasure that is extremely concrete and practical to his young god-child. To love only Christ is the only objective of the Christian Life. This exclusive and primary bond through everything and every person is the very definition of salvation and the source of the signs of salvation: Peace, Love and Joy.
The Father himself says Scripture has placed in Him “all his Love’. By Him, with Him and IN HIM the Creator loves and saves all things because everything has been summed up in Him. To love Christ is the road to salvation, to refuse his love, to prefer his own way however holy it may be, like this young man is to go towards perdition, to refuse his Wisdom, no longer hear his Love, no longer to be carried by his look of Love.
Let us pray:
Lord help us to see your love. By the example of all those who have followed you, by the example of the Virgin Mary , of Mary Magdalene, of Peter or that of Zachaeus, make us wish for what you desire and accept your plan of love in our lives. To those who lose confidence and turn towards the ways of the world, send appealing messengers and faithful witnesses of your beauty.
Translated from French by Sr. Marie Therese McComie, OP Sunday 11th October 2015-French