Posted by: Thomas Richard | September 15, 2020

Reflections on a Lost Treasure

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,
1:25 of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God,
1:26 the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
1:27 to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
1:28 It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Suffering is a universal condition, among the rich and the poor, spanning cultures and nations, languages and ethnic groups, men and women young and old: suffering can everywhere be found and nowhere can be buried or denied, drugged or drunk away, pandered or appeased or bribed away.  Its remedy is one and singular: its icon is the Cross.  It is the message of the Cross that explains suffering, and all who learn to hear and receive its message, and understand and follow it, find as Paul did, “the riches of the glory of this mystery.”  It is a lost treasure; but it is meant to be found.

It is also a treasure avoided!  Suffering is a treasure many, many people seek to avoid at any cost of “time and talent and money.”  I intentionally avoid alliteration and the word commonly placed next, “treasure.” Money, the currency of this world, is hardly the treasure that lasts, and that we ought to be seeking.  There is a treasure fit in the new life in Christ, and in the new creation to come, as Paul wrote, “the riches of the glory of this mystery.”  We must see, each one of us, the abject poverty of the so-called riches worshipped in this world!  We must see the hollow, barren death of so-called vitality and supposed strength sought in this world, so that we can set our faces toward Truth, and walk in wisdom the days we have remaining here.

Paul was given a ministry, and stewardship of wisdom eternal in God, and kept in mystery – in darkness – for the people of this world.  We stumble in darkness, so wounded by sin in the very core of our hearts, of my heart, of your heart, until we begin to see by the light that only God can bring into a soul.  But in that divine light, when it comes, we can see that which holds together all creation – all the universe – all of you and me and every person.  It is the divine Love, holding all in being, all in relationship, all in purpose, all in destiny.  The answer to suffering is spoken by the Cross, and in one word, Love.  He emptied Himself, yet never was He empty; He out-poured Himself, yet never was He depleted.  Like the Burning Bush shown to Moses, He is ignited ablaze burning, yet never consumed.  The Holy Trinity revealed, Love revealed, the essence of eternal God revealed: our vocation, our invitation, the mystery of suffering and death answered – by resurrection, ascension, and Eternal Spirit given.

What can be “lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, the Church”?  The answer: our afflictions, offered on behalf of His Body the Church!  Paul was given a heart-mission: not merely to “make disciples” to begin in Christ, but to make disciples into the full intention of the Father, persons “perfect in Christ,” Christians pouring out their lives in love as did their Lord, whatever the cost.  

How to begin such lives of zeal?  We hear from the wisdom of the Church, “Don’t waste suffering!”  “Offer it all up, for the intentions of the Lord!”  When we ever entrust ourselves completely into His care, with one concern, to do His will in all things, then will our light shine before the nations!  Then will be the beginning of the end achieved; then will suffering recede into the past, and true sacrifice be offered to the Lord, “worshippers who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.”

Brothers and sisters, we need prayerful souls making reparation, today, for the many many hardened hearts and cold souls who walk about as if there is no God, as if life is merely “eat, drink and be merry,” as if “tomorrow we die anyway” so nothing matters.  Many believe that they do not matter!  But they do!  Every soul that is or ever will be, is because God cared – God loved him into being – God made him and died for him, that he might have life.  Time is marching on toward that last day, and many opportunities are being wasted, when we might be “adding to the solution” and not “adding to the problem” of precious but wasted time, and sufferings that could be transformed into prayer and worship in spirit and in truth.  

1 Thessalonians 5:5  For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.
1Th 5:6  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1Th 5:7  For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
1Th 5:8  But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10  who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him.
1Th 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.


Responses

  1. Dear Thomas,

    Thanks so much for this reflection, so very appropriate on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. What human person could know better than Mary, all the Suffering of her Son, Jesus? Her heart was pierced too!

    Mary, Mother of the Church, intercede for us, that we may learn from you as you learned from Jesus. You listened to all that He said and did and you pondered all in your heart. You did the Truth you heard.

    You are our Mother given to us by Jesus from His Cross. He knew how much we would need you in this valley of tears. Mother of all, pray for us.

  2. Thank you so much Thomas. Thanks be to God for the life saving Treasure. What a glorious God He is!!


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