NOTE: I realize that this post may initially shock or repulse you—or both—but I implore you to please read it til its end.*
Many of us are familiar with this classic from Aesop. Some versions are that of a hen, but the one most familiar to us are that of a goose:
One day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.
Greed oft o’er reaches itself.
Now imagine that we are the farmer…and the goose was Jesus Christ.
What a horrible idea!
But in fact, I realized that this is how I am with my relation with our Lord because of my habitual sins. And yet, I can say with confidence in Jesus, Mary and Joseph that this realization in the end drew me closer to God. I hope it will too for you.
It all started in this way: while I was reading a very remarkable book called My Ideal: Jesus, Son of Mary,* I came upon a line that immediately seized me: “Too often [Jesus lives] in your soul as a prisoner lives in his cell” (Page 15).
This line immediately recalled to me Jesus’ words: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). You see, I believe that everytime we believe in Him, everytime we go to the Sacraments, everytime we pray, everytime we do His Will, we invite the Lord into us.
And yet, as I reflected more, what do I do with Jesus when He comes? I shut the door with Him inside my heart, and demand that He give me happiness and joy, like a prisoner of ransom. I pray, I receive the Sacraments, I read Scripture, I do His Will…but only to the point that they give me happiness and joy. If I do not receive this happiness and joy upon doing these works of piety, I grouse, I ask myself, "Why do I suffer? Why am I sad? Why I am not happy?! " I demand more and more from God to make me happy and joyful as I do His Will, until I couldn’t take it anymore: I get my knife of habitual sins and gut Him to take the happiness from inside Him…only to find nothing.
It was horrible how, in the vividness of my imagination, the Jesus transformed from the Guest who was knocking on the door to my heart to the Goose that laid the golden eggs. I cried back then and prayed for forgiveness for all of my past sins. I went to confession. And yet…I still fell to my habitual sins. I can tell you it was very heartrending to still fall to those same sins I had confessed just a few days before, and remember what I was doing to Jesus as the Goose. This sank me so low a mood that it left me without energy to do my usual activities well, sometimes not doing them at all, for almost a month, including going back here to post on CAF. Yet indeed in retrospect this dark night of mine grew me closer to God in prayer, for it was at this time that I started to pray the Holy Rosary continually throughout each day everyday.
continued next post