Let Go and Let God

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There’s an old phrase – money will buy you everything. But we, unlike the young man in the gospel who still wanted more, know that wealth has definite limitations. It won’t let us live until we’re 200, buy us good health, or bring us true peace of mind. And it wasn’t going to buy the young man eternal life – in fact, it was getting in the way.

Jesus told the young man to give all his money to the poor – can you imagine? But I’m not sure that he meant that literally. Maybe Jesus meant that nothing, no nothing, should get in the way of living in the freedom that Jesus promises us – and that he could do that now and not wait until he died. St. John of the Cross wrote about this – he said that to do this, we need to get rid of any “inordinate attachments” to things that can change in an instant – money, health, celebrity, a place of honor; the list goes on. Wealth definitely fits on this list.

Sometimes attachments take a deeper, more profound form. I know a man whose wife died on the anniversary of the death of his beloved grandmother. He had three children, two of whom had developmental disabilities. He lost his job, and was unable to care for his children. His wife’s relatives took in the children with promises that he could see them as he wished. Then they refused his requests for visits, and forbade any sort of contact. He was 4,000 miles away, no money, and they were very wealthy. He took a custodial job – it was all that he could manage – and paid for the children’s medical insurance – nearly 40% of his salary – for 15 years. Although he’s been depressed and angry at times, He has never turned away from God. I’m sure that you could tell similar stories. Is he free? Yes. Would he give his life to see his children? Yes. I don’t think that much can truly hurt him any more.

I believe that the Kingdom is real, and as Jesus said, it’s within us. The journey towards it is sometimes painful, always demanding, but worth the struggle. The slogan, “let go and let God” fits with today’s Gospel, and sometimes it applies close to home.

Dorothy A. Hathway, CSJA