Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Lover of God

“Do you not know that being a lover of the world means enmity with God?” James 4:4




Is it always the case that if you love the world, you are an enemy of God? Can we not straddle both camps? Do we have to choose one or the other? Cannot we love the things this world offers, and love God as well? In the epistle of James, the author writes, “Whoever has chosen to be a friend of this world has been made into an enemy of God.” If we choose worldly ways over God’s ways, we are like adulterers, sleeping with the enemy!!! 


Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and a good time to start examining if there is anything in our life displeasing to God. Do we live according to worldly wisdom, depending on ourselves all the time and not trusting God for what we need? Are we always looking out for ourselves, selfishly ignoring the needs of those around us? Are we searching not for the true God who is holy and who wants His people holy, but for a god of our own making, a god who will tolerate our sin? 


Many saints start out as friends of the world. One of them is St. Ignatius de Loyola who “strutted about with his cape slinging open to reveal his tight-fitting hose and boots; a sword and dagger at his waist". He was vain, a womanizer and had an insatiable desire for fame and glory. He was “sensitive to insult, and he used his privileged status to escape prosecution for violent crimes”. 


During his recuperation after a cannonball shattered his right leg, he experienced a spiritual conversion which led to a call to religious life. Instead of daydreaming about fame and glory as a soldier, he thought of how to imitate the saints like Francis of Assisi. His main principle became the Jesuit motto: Ad majorem Dei gloriam (“for the greater glory of God”). 


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