Saturday, June 14, 2014
Purification of our Motives
How many have a pure motive in what they do? Am I really living genuinely? A priest, who worked for the poor, asks his readers these questions in an article in Biblelife. Many are those who are working for the country, the citizens, for unification, peace, for the parishioners, for God and so forth, but in reality, is that the truth? We package this up with altruistic thoughts, but in reality, it seems to the writer; we try to satisfy our personal desires. This is the reality he sees in his own life.
He remembers a conversation he had with classmates after ordination. When we work pastorally with the young, work hard, and have all kinds of events, is it really for the young people? "Is it not my wish to be with the young people, and I dress it up with the notion that I am doing it for them? Am I working for the young people to bring them closer to Jesus or is it for my own glory?"
This can be the case with those working for justice. They give the impression they are interested in others, but actually are more concerned about their own situation. The search for glory is possible. It could be a matter of pride, ignorance, hypocrisy, but it is not acting as a follower of Jesus. One of the reasons he left the work for the poor after eight years in a slum area of the city was the fear that this was the actual case with him. Was he using the poor people to draw attention to himself?
There were many who felt sorry for his working in such difficult circumstances. They would compare what he was doing with the work of parish priests and praise him. Was he really worthy of that praise? Was this the reason he was working in the slums? He knew that working in the slums could be all a lie. He felt that it was necessary for him to leave the work if he was not to begin living a lie. He considered himself a weak person and would not be able to see the change in himself if it came.
From the outside, people could admire his living poorly. He did his own cooking, washing cleaning and without help. One can be in search of poverty and not live poverty. One can use the appearance of poverty and live the opposite. One can desire to pile up achievements and can be negligent of the poor. Working with the poor one can arrange to do his own thing, and win the respect of the public. This is a possible.
A follower of Jesus has to check to see what are the motives for his or her actions. We have to keep our eyes on Jesus and the way of life he has shown us.
There is always a need to purify our motives to be more in harmony with the life that Jesus showed us.