Monday, May 6, 2013

Investing in what is Important

When speaking about investments we generally think about the world of finance, investing in stocks, real estate, precious metals, petroleum, even education as a way to insure a good paying job. Though investments of this kind are often motivated by a desire for prosperity and happiness, it's not unusual, as we know, that these goals are not achieved and our money lost.

On the open forum page of the Catholic Times, the journalist distinguishes between two similar sounding Korean words, one meaning investing money, the other investing the self. And it's the self that we invest in whenever we determine to do our best--at our workplace, in our family, in our relationships, and in our future. Religious people devote themselves to God, the Church and our neighbor. Isn't this investing? the columnist asks. He sees all these self-investments as investing in God, without any fear of loss.

Do we, instead, see our most precious treasure in our stocks, our property, our jewelery? When we are neglectful of our family, for instance, no matter how much money is made, a sense of regret, the columnist believes, is always present. God will be happy, he says, when we give ourselves, which is our most precious possession, to whatever we are involved in. This kind of investment has the best returns, he says, and it requires no analysis.

Living in a capitalistic system, we know that investments are a big part of this world view. As Christians, we also know of the existence of eternal life, and yet the time we spend investing in the life of our soul is minimal. We tend to say: "A little later, a little later," and keep putting off what is of the greatest importance. The world is not prodding us, of course, to find the time to devote ourselves to what is important. But we can easily check for ourselves our spiritual condition. All we have to do is see how much time we spend listening and talking with God. If we want to remain in this relationship we have to deepen our prayer life. Scriptures are words of promise that help us do this. Everything depends on God and the time we invest in relating with him will free us from all the fears that are likely to appear in our lives.

In our Lord's final words at the Last Supper, in John's Gospel, John tells us that Jesus leaves us with his love, the Holy Spirit, and peace. These three gifts should bring great happiness, and Jesus does exhort us not to be troubled or be afraid. Knowledge of what has been given should do much to prepare us to fully experience the gifts. 

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