“It is my money, and I want it now.” I always have hated that commercial; it sounded so greedy. Perhaps I have hated it because it might have a ring of truth about me. I was listening to St. Augustine’s confessions, and he was referring to his not being content with God although God was Creator and all belonged to Him, that he yearned more for created things than the Creator Himself. It was then that that commercial came to mind. Just as St. Augustine was, so goes I. Am I content with God, or do I yearn more for the temporal than I do the spiritual, the eternal?
My mind turns to the prodigal son. The son was in the father’s house, was with him always. What was the father’s also was the son’s. It was his inheritance, but he wanted it now. He was not content with the father; he wanted his money, and he wanted it now. We know the rest of the story, how he left for a far country, squandered his inheritance with wild living, winding up feeding the pigs, and thereafter returning to his father. How often it occurs that I desire the “new thing” on the market and, after a very short period of time, the newness wears off and I desire something else. This comes with not being contented with the Father and attempting to satisfy my yearnings with the created. I know beforehand that the created will not satisfy; therefore, why do I so often fall into the same trap? In Christ and His Church, and in the Sacraments, will I find contentment. Only in loving God and neighbor will I find joy and peace.
I had always thought the prodigal son was he who did not know Christ. The prodigal son is he who knows the Father, resides in His house, yet is not content with Him, desiring the creature more than the Creator. Not only am I the prodigal son many times, but I will wear the other hat also: the hat of the older brother. This occurs when I desire someone not be forgiven for what he has done, desiring he be judged to the utmost, wanting something bad to happen to him. It is those times when I don’t pray for someone or don’t want to pray for him. How can I say I love God, who I cannot see, when I can’t love the brother who I can see? God loved, and does love, those who hate Him, desiring that they repent; hence, we—being in Christ and becoming more like Him--must love those whom He loves. May Christ pour out His mercy upon us, causing us to love the Creator more than the created things. In Christ, we have all things; in the created, we only have a minute portion. In Christ, we have fulfillment, contentment; in the created, we will never be satisfied.