By KIM ELENEZ
Ever wanted to do something but you couldn’t because of commitment or someone didn’t want you to? Of course you have! The more apt question is how many times did that happen this week! We sacrifice our time, talents and treasure all the time. But what do we sacrifice it for?
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
Last weekend a girlfriend in Atlanta invited me to go with her to an event where one of the speakers was Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times Best Seller Eat Pray Love. I could write 1,000 meditations on the experience, but I’ll stop much short of that and say – I enjoyed her talk, I did not agree with her thinking, andI’m glad I went. Based on a lot of what she said, Father Alfonse’s eloquent meditation on Monday “Are you spiritual or religious?” was very well timed!
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
In today’s gospel, Luke accounts a simple analogy from Jesus - build your house (faith) on solid ground (Christ). Now, I’ve never built a house before but I would bet it’s whole lot more productive if you have at least one other person. Can you do it by yourself? Sure. It would be hard and take an incredibly long time, but I suppose it can and has been done. But if you can help it, why would you build it alone?
When Elizabeth Gilbert spoke last weekend, she shared details of her quest to find her purpose. If you haven’t read the book – here’s a quick summary: she leaves her husband and travels to Rome, India and Bali. She eats (pasta). She prays (sorta). She falls in love (of course). The premise in her talk was that she owed it to her herself to leave her life behind to find the life she was meant to live. I guess Elizabeth Gilbert thinks building a house by yourself is better.I’m in no place to judge Elizabeth Gilbert. Travel and exploration are a gift that I love. I pray that she discovers Christ in all corners of the earth and understands that all that is exotic comes from his creation. We can find our purpose by consistently listening to him in any and all geographies, including the one you are already in.
When the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
I am a convert to Catholicism, and you know converts can be a little different from Catholics born into the faith. Some of us tend to be a little more, I’ll say, chatty about it. For me, I think it’s because I am trying to catch up. I had over 30 years of not knowing, and now I know! I want everyone to know! The more Iexplore our faith, the more I can feel the foundation strengthening under my feet. It’s addictive. I want to share it.
Together in this glorious religious community, we can build foundations and houses together. Sacrifice for each other – not out of burden, but out of hope and joy. We don’t need to leave this community; it goes wherever we do. The better we do, the more people will take note of it, too. The more people who take note, the more people will join us.
Let’s start here: I will pray for you. I hope you pray for me. I will support you by doing my best to model Christ’s love, and I hope you will do that for me. Because, my dear friend, we are in this together.
This meditation was written by Kim Elenez, wife, mother and media executive in Raleigh, NC. Kim converted to Catholicism in 2012.