A few years ago I met Br Paul Rowse, OP. This year he has professed Solemn Vows, and I believe is to be ordained deacon in December. Please pray for him and all the Dominicans of our province.
At that time (in illo tempore…) we were enjoying a lighthearted conversation when something came up, to which he replied “I have nothing in this world”.
It was a phrase which I have never forgotten. So simple, so easily misunderstood by children of this age (like you or I), and yet perhaps the single best reflection on the grace of evangelical poverty. It is to me a particularly appealing aspect of religious life, which no doubt surprises my friends (who see me surrounded by expensive gadgets, and well know my love of the latest computer, the greatest camera, the finest clarinet). The willingness to let go of material objects as objectives, and use them instead as mere tools for reaching the final objective, is true feedom.
All this came back to me before Mass today. This time it was in Portuguese (celebrated by a magnificent Jesuit missionary) so I did my best to participate by absorbing the readings in preparation. The first is from Wisdom (7:7-11, RSV-CE)
Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her. Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. I loved her more than health and beauty, and I chose to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases. All good things came to me along with her, and in her hands uncounted wealth.
With a rush my heart was lifted to the clouds, a swirl of memories joining the gratitude of the moment. This passage describes better than I ever could one of the reasons I want to give the government of my own life back to God and serve him as a Dominican friar. To praise him in the Office and the Mass with my brothers, to bless his people with the most precious sacraments, and to preach his glorious love and the splendour of his eternal truth. The mere thought of these things fills me with an anticipation, an eagerness I can’t describe.
But beyond these, to contemplate in this life the mysteries by which I hope to be enfolded in the next. I have tried so many other things, and I simply cannot imagine a better way to use the gift that has been entrusted to me – myself.