“The poorer one is [in spirit], the more the indescribable riches of Christ will find their place in us. When we acknowledge and admit our misery, His generosity is very great.”
– Bl. Dom Columba Marmion (Union with God, Thibaut 1938, p. 156)
In Richard kelly’s movie, ‘The Box‘ (2009), a curious-looking man comes knocking on the door of a middle-class family. He is holding a box with a button inside. The couple let the man in to their house, and he explains to them that, if they are willing to press the button, they will receive one million dollars. The catch? Someone, somewhere, will die. (That is the gist; I won’t explain the whole plot).
The movie raises some very interesting philosophical questions. But even more intriguing, in my mind, are the spiritual implications that come to the fore when confronted with the question: ‘Can evil be committed in order to bring about good?’ Or put differently: ‘Does the end justify the means (if the means is evil)?’
So, how does this question relate to the spiritual life? Consider this real-life example: A man is tempted to evade paying taxes; he owes the government a few thousand dollars, but if he “pockets” some of his cash, and doesn’t inform the government, he will save a few quid/bob/bucks/Benjamins/whatever!
What does the man do? Suppose he takes the money; this would be an illegal and immoral act (the two are not necessarily the same!). Materially, he is guilty of mortal sin. If he acted with sufficient knowledge and consent, he is guilty of formal mortal sin (because the matter is grave).
Is this not the height of insanity? Whereas in ‘The Box,’ the couple are offered one million dollars for the life of another [an unspeakable evil, no doubt], in the aforementioned example, the man is “offered” a few thousand dollars for the “price” of his own soul! Recall that every mortal sin makes us a slave to the Devil, and until we give up our sin, we are heading towards eternal damnation.
That is a sobering thought, but it is must be known. If we are tempted to sin mortally, remember that the Devil can promise us nothing of true or lasting worth; he is all smoke and mirrors – pun intended. Pun regretted.
A Positive Look at Spiritual Riches
On a more positive note, we should consider that, for every little act of love, there is an eternal reward (if we are in a state of sanctifying grace, the seed of supernatural fruits).
“What are all the sorrows of earth,“ said a deceased Visitandine in a vision to Sr. Marie-Catherine Putigny, “compared with the happiness of seeing God for even one instant!”
Going back to ‘The Box,’ imagine the the same basic plot, but instead of being offered money, you were offered eternal joy (which often spills into earth); and instead of coming at the cost of another person’s life, the gift came by sincerely asking for it. Who would say no?
Has Our Lord not put Himself at our disposal? Is He not the Source of all riches? “What more do you want? Am I not with you?” (Jesus to Mother Anne Margaret Clement)
People spend the greater part of their lives in pursuit of frivolous pleasures, when, all the while, Our Lord offers His grace to us at every moment. Whether we be poor or rich, sinful or virtuous, He offers us His friendship, His peace, His joy, and ultimately, Himself.
‘Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.’ (Mt. 6:19-20)
Our Treasure is in the Sacred Heart
“Learn for thine own benefit, and teach it to others, that to obtain solid virtue it must be soughtin the Heart of Jesus- Whoever wishes to be saved has only to take refuge in this Blessed Ark whence he can look out upon the tempest without being shaken by its fury. O beloved spouse, discover to all the place of refuge thou hast chosen for thy perpetual Abode; do Me this charity to teach it to other souls that they may come and find Me. I have immense treasures of grace for all: and whoever comes to Me shall be overwhelmed with them.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata (March 12, 1905)
“I am an infinite treasure which My Father has placed at the disposal of all. They who reject Me will comprehend their misfortune only in Eternity. I love men; I love them tenderly as My dear brethren; although there is an infinite distance between them and Me, I make no account of it.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata
Dear Jesus, hide me in you Sacred Heart, which was pierced for love of me! Never let me exit therefrom!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!