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Faustina, Saint for Our Times

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Your Treasure? It's Not in There.

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By Bryan Thatcher, MD (Nov 5, 2010)
A couple of years ago I was helping out at my daughter's school to get the required 20 service hours for the year. The students were having a freshman retreat to get them acclimated to high school. At the time, my daughter attended a private parochial school, and the fees were high enough that children from poor families could attend only if they were on scholarship. When the students were introducing themselves, an episode occurred that I will never forget.

First of all, I must admit that I entered the session with a certain bias and prejudice. I assumed that the students came from "upper crust" families where education was emphasized, and that the parents were successful and the families stable and balanced.

One of the first "ice-breakers" — things done to make them feel more comfortable — was to go around the room and tell a little about themselves and their families. The first student spoke and said his parents were divorced and that his dad never showed any interest in him; he never called to see how he was doing, and had never been to any of his basketball games.

The second said her parents were divorced, and her mother lived several thousand miles away. Because her father traveled a lot for his high-paying job, she had to be the main caretaker for her younger sister. She cooked the meals, did the laundry, and went to her sister's PTA meetings. She even had to bake the cookies for PTA meetings. She was also the one to help her younger sister with her homework.

The third student, a young man, said, "You all know my parents are extremely wealthy. I get anything I want at any time. However, my parents are never home — they are off to parties and frequently jetset to Las Vegas to gamble. They never spend any time with me."

At this point I realized how broken we all are, and that money doesn't ensure anything.

Finally, a thin girl from a poor family got up and spoke. She was not wearing fancy designer clothes, and in many ways didn't fit in with the rest. Her tennis shoes were plain white and looked like they were purchased at a garage sale. This is what she offered to the group: "We have nine children in our family. At any given time, someone is usually fighting with someone else, but we are all very close. I love my brothers and sisters more than anything else. We laugh a lot in our home. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Wow! Did she provide the lesson for the day!

You see, the irony of the situation was that the person with the least, in a materialistic sense, had the most. That is the concept of the "upside down kingdom." The last shall be first, the humbled will be exalted, and the poor will be rich.

Scripture tells us, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart also be" (Mt 6:19-21).

What is your priority in life? What are your successes? Are they financial? Are you proudest of your mansion, your fancy car, your high-paying job, or the fact that your children love God, spend time with their children, and have happy marriages? Where is your heart in all of this? For your actions speak much louder than your words, and where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Saint Faustina's goal in life was to do only God's will, and to be a reflection of His great mercy. Jesus told her, "May you constantly unite yourself with Me through love, for this is the goal of the life of your soul. This act is an act of the will. Know that a pure soul is humble" (Diary of St. Faustina, 576).

Love must be the glue that holds us together. I mean love of God and neighbor, not love of money, materialism, and things of this world that rot and rust away. We must let this love be central to our intentions, overcoming fear and anger. Let us better realize that success in not measured in terms of how large a home we own, the value of the car we drive, or the number of cruises we take a year. Success is measured by how much love we have in our hearts, and the humility in our souls to hear and do the Will of God.

So today I ask you to reassess your interpretation of success, and reflect on the Scripture: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Where is your treasure, and where is your heart?

Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

Learn how to start a Divine Mercy cenacle in your area.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Maria P. (Canada) - Nov 13, 2010

Dr. Thatcher, thank you so much for this enlightening article. A true lesson for us all. This brought back memories of share groups in the past and hearing the stories of transformed souls. My tears were flowing while reading because it's a reminder that we all need to remember that Jesus is the "True Treasure" and that is whom we should focus on. Bless you.....

Diane Brubaker - Nov 11, 2010

Excellent article Bryan! It's easy to fall into the trap of materialism. God bless this young girl for insight beyond her years and for outstanding food for thought for all of us.

Bill Thatcher - Nov 10, 2010

That is an excellent article and everyone should try to follow the lesson given in it

Annie Karto - Nov 10, 2010

Bryan.. beautiful insight! Blessed Mother Teresa told us that America is the poorest country in the world..... "spiritually poor." We are indeed so rich with our Faith that has been passed down to us, yet we continue to be tempted by secular riches.. Lord help us where our true riches lie.

Susie B Australia. - Nov 9, 2010

Great article, we all need to take heed of what you've written, thanks Bryan. Love this web site.

Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC - Nov 9, 2010

What an eye-opener! We should all be careful of pre-judging and stereotyping others. Only the Lord knows all of the things that others are enduring. Thanks Bryan. Well done!

Ziggy Chodzko-Zajko - Nov 7, 2010

So on the spot Brian - as usual. I walk on a nine day Pilgrimage each year to Czestochowa with mostly 16-25 year olds. You can't begin to believe how much an old git like me can learn from them! God Bless you and all you do for the Marians and the Church.

Brian - Nov 5, 2010

Thanks Bryan - a great article.