"Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. "But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." -Luke 12:32-40
About This Week's Prompts for Meditation
Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Luke 12:32-34
For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom! If that is so...then the hold up is … ? I think immediately of the famous Pogo cartoon line, "We have met the enemy and he is us!" whether it's a cigar in the lemonade or contemplation of the forest full of litter.
What IS the treasure? Where is my heart's desire found? The unfailing treasure is eternal and found in the present moment (meditation one). But because of the layers of misplaced values accumulated through life, finding the treasure may require a kind of quest. But ultimately the treasure is found within our very selves (meditation two). There's the insight to take back into the world. And the world? Throughout scripture, God's heart is with with anawim, 'the little ones' who seek God for deliverance; the poor, the widows, the orphans, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the sick, the stranger, the maimed. Jesus also embraced these as the bearers of the kingdom, and the church's treasure, too, is found among the poor (meditation three). And so, find the treasure within and know the treasure manifested in others.
Some of us may have to change our idea of treasure. Carlo Carretto discovered early in life that "if I want to be happy on earth I must fall madly in love with God and the things of God."
May you find and know your true treasure! -Suzanne
Meditation One (introit) unfailing treasure
Nor does the lesson apply to those only who worship Mammon, who give their lives, their best energies to the accumulation of wealth: it applies to those equally who in any way worship the transitory; who seek the praise of men more than the praise of God; who would make a show in the world by wealth, by taste, by intellect, by power, by art, by genius of any kind, and so would gather golden opinions to be treasured in a storehouse of earth. -George MacDonald 1824-1905
Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.
-Eckhart Tolle The Power of Now
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
and sometimes you might have to plough that field ... sg
Jesus said, "What the kingdom resembles is a man who possessed a hidden treasure in his field without knowing it. And [upon] dying he left it to his [son]. The son [was] not aware of the fact. He assumed (ownership of) the field and sold it. And the person who bought it came plowing, [found] the treasure, and began to lend out money at interest to whomever he wished."
-Gospel of Thomas logion 109 (trans. Layton)
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
(Illumination: Building the Temple of Solomon from Petrus Comestor's Bible Historiale, 1372)
When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs for what it has found.
This treasure of the Kingdom of God has been hidden by time and multiplicity and the soul's own works, or briefly by its creaturely nature. But in the measure that the soul can separate itself from this multiplicity, to that extent it reveals within itself the Kingdom of God. Here the soul and the Godhead are one.
How can I explain the riches and treasures and delights found when the soul is united to God in prayer? Since in some way we can enjoy heaven on earth, be brave in begging the Lord to give us his grace in that he shows us the way and strengthen the soul that it may dig until it finds this hidden treasure. The truth is that the treasure lies within our very selves.
-Teresa of Avila The Interior Castle
St. Lawrence Distributes the Church Treasure to the Poor, Fra Angelico, 1447
Meditation Two (insight) where to look
The treasure generally lies deep in some cavern or buried underground. Its position symbolizes the difficulties inherent in its quest, but above all the fact that human effort is essential. The treasure is not freely given by Heaven and is only to be found at the end of a long series of ordeals. This bears witness to the fact that the buried treasure is spiritual and moral and that these ordeals, battles with monsters, with the elements and with robbers along the road belong, like the obstacles themselves, to the moral and spiritual order. The buried treasure is a symbol of the inner life and the monsters which guard it none other than aspects of ourselves. -Jean Chevalier, Alain Gheerbrant, (trans. John Buchanan-Brown) The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols
The truth is that the treasure lies within our very selves. -Teresa of Avila
Meditation Three (integration) the church's treasure
As Sixtus was led away to be jailed and tortured, he gave all the treasures of the church into Laurence's care to be dispensed to the poor. Blessed Laurence then sought out Christians by day and by night, and ministered to all according to their needs.... The soldiers, hearing of money, took Laurence and presented him to the general Decius. Decius said to him, "Where is the church's money, which we know is hidden with you?" Laurence requested a delay of three days. During the three days Laurence brought together the poor, the lame, and the blind, and then presented them before Decius in the palace, saying, "See here the eternal treasure, which never diminishes but increases. It is divided among these people and is found in all of them, for their hands have carried the treasure off to heaven." -Jacob of Voragine ca.1230-1298 The Golden Legend (quoted from Gail Ramshaw's Treasures Old and New: Images in the Lectionary)
The Last Word I have long known that if I want to be happy on earth I must fall madly in love with God and the things of God. -Carlo Carretto 1910-1988
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Jesus (Luke 12:34)
I remember gazing at a drop of dew clinging to the underside of a branch on a little peach tree my boyfriend had given me. For an extended time I watched how the sunlight broke into rainbows within that single drop and how multi-faceted lights burst forth again from the drop, like another twenty new-born suns. At the idealistic age of seventeen I decided that I'd never need a diamonds, say, or expensive beautiful things as long as I stayed close to nature.
When I was young I couldn't have imagined a time when I could not lose myself in nature; sitting upon the giant branch of a great oak, losing time, myself, my body; watching, listening, absorbing and becoming scents and birdsong, insects, light, ambient sound and air moving dust and leaves, becoming ONE with all that I saw and heard and felt. I became the catbird's throaty cry, my heart fluttered with the golden swallowtail, my body swayed imperceptibly in the far branches touched by breeze, my soul shaped into thousands of unique leaves. (“I totally remember you that way,” said a high school friend recently.)
Life's batterings gave me coats of mail to steel me against all feeling. In this I am more like my culture than I am like myself. I wonder if the task of these latter years of life is to shed those layers and find the self born to love the translucent blossom and the scent of oak loam upon the ground? Can I possibly enter once again like an acrobat into the pan-pipe call of the wood thrush? Can I become once again the light and the shadow at play upon the dewy lawn?
Emerson said, To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light. But it is my heart that's leaden and dark. My mind overactive. My body sluggish. I know, however, that buried treasure waits for me at the core of my being. I need, somehow, to wake up, and go on the quest.