Sell the Pearl
July 28, 2021 (readings)
- Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
- Jennifer Ristine
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I trust in you! You are worth more than any treasure I find here on earth. Help me to choose you above all else.
The Way of Nada: St. John of the Cross, a great mystic and saint of the 16th century, experienced firsthand the treasure of friendship with the Lord. He had every “right” to complain that God was not a good friend. He was locked into a small room and was starved and tortured by his own brothers when he sought to reform the Carmelite order, of which he was a member. In literal darkness, feeling rejected, and likely wondering if he should abandon his cause of reform, he discovered a treasure. Eventually, he wrote some of the greatest works on the spiritual life—words of wisdom for those who desire to possess the kingdom of heaven. The way is precisely the opposite of what one would expect—desire nothing in order to gain everything. It is the way of “nada.”
Sell Everything: Imagine a treasure that you would sell everything else for. Once you possess that treasure, you would no longer experience want. You would possess all that was needed. In the spiritual life, this is the goal of “letting go.” Far from you becoming a vagabond, it implies you are striving to put all things in their proper place. When we let go of the obsession to control, the driving anxiety to possess the same things as our neighbor, the necessity to be the center of attention, etc., we make space for Christ. He takes the front and center place in our lives. Our motives change and suddenly we are free to enjoy the possessions, people, and opportunities that are within our scope. We do so, not greedily, but with free, simple, and humble hearts, aware of the gift of stewardship that the Lord bestows upon us as disciples in his kingdom.
Buy the Field: The image that the Lord used in this parable is very curious. Why did the man rebury the treasure and buy the entire field? It seems he didn’t want to take any chances of losing the great gift he had just found. He wanted to ensure that he remained in full possession of the treasure. How do we seek to preserve the treasure of our faith, maintain the gift that we have received, and cultivate the soil where God’s grace wants to reign? Let’s speak to the Lord about the treasure that he desires to give us and how we can protect it. Let’s discern what to “let go of” and what to “purchase.”
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of your friendship. Thank you for the gift of my faith. Help me to see whatever in my life is an obstacle to holding onto the one true treasure. Give me the strength to let it go. And grant me the grace to hold on to it only in order to share the treasure I have received, which is you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will be attentive to the desires of my heart, which reveal what I hold on to as treasures. I will ask you to be my greatest treasure.
For Further Reflection: To Have Jesus, Let Go of Everything Else, Father Mark-Mary, CFR.
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