“Do not store up treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.”
When I was a child I used to collect model planes. They were my greatest treasure. Today, I have no idea where they are. What are your collectables? Stamps? Lighters? Match boxes? Trophies? Awards?
Throughout my life I have stored up many earthly treasures. Some of them are valuable. Others are memorable. But while I was in the novitiate, our superior made sure that none of us possessed any type of prized possession or memorabilia. We were being trained to be missionaries and missionaries travel light, very light.
But I got around one. I can honestly say I have held on to just about every letter or card I received from family and friends in my seventeen years in the seminary and in ministry. I hold them close to my heart, and have even contemplated being buried with them!
So is this my greatest possession? Of course not! Is any material thing a great possession? No. And that includes children, spouse and our very own lives, for all these things, as we see them now, will one day come to an end. Then where can I find my treasure? Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
My heart is really not in the letters I have received, nor in the people they represent or that I have grown to love. My heart truly rests and my treasure truly swells when I contemplate on how it all began and how it all came to be. I give glory to the One who has given me earth and heaven; all that is seen and unseen. Let me explain myself. My greatest possession has become my faith, hope and love, and how the Lord has helped me to see what was unseen. Throughout the years, I have contemplated on my calling and where this calling has taken me: physically, spiritually and emotionally. It has been a roller coaster ride between Heaven and earth.
St. Paul’s greatest possession, what he most boasts about, is the battle scars and wounds he has received as a servant of the Lord. For him, this is what it is all about. He rolls up his sleeves and fights. He gets knocked down. He gets back up. He is scourged, mocked and threatened all the time, and in the process, he gives glory to God. He says, “Bring it on!” and man and God go at it! The results are spectacular! (cf. 2Cor 11:18-30)
Our greatest possession is our faith, hope and love. For when we believe we “bring it on!” - we bring heaven to earth. And when we hope, we know the unseen will be seen, and when we love under duress, we shock and awe. What appears to be weakness is actually strength. What appears to be the ending, is just the beginning!
St. John Vianney wrote, “I must quit earth for heaven. I must pass from time to eternity; to possess my God, to converse with the angels and saints. I am going to the place of my rest, to the land of the living; to the palace of my God, to the Nuptials of the Lamb.
This is where my heart finds peace. This is my treasure.