By Maddie Kreslins
In the Gospel reading for today, we see another instance of Jesus giving those petty Pharisees their daily dose of humility. As I sit in the chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, a small group of women who have been called to leave everything of the world behind and belong entirely to Christ, reflecting on this passage,
I cannot help but think about Jesus’ words, “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.”
What belongs to God? There are many times I have caught myself asking, “Lord what do you want? Ask me for anything!” I then found myself tripping over one million ideas for what I thought Jesus wanted most from me… I would close my eyes very tightly and mentally yell, “God, you can have everything!”
But here’s what I did not realize, in asking that question. He does not want something from me, as much as He simply desires me. We belong to God. Yes, we belong to Him!
When did we forget that we are not our own, that we have never been our own?
I will never be happy in this life unless I belong entirely to God; not in some abstract way, but in a very real and deeply intimate way. He wants us to enter into a bond of self-giving Love, one in which the God of the universe reaches down to the earth He made, proclaims it worth saving, and pours Himself out for us, calling us back to Him. How could we ever imagine belonging to anyone but Him, who first loved us? Jesus once appeared to a saint and expressed His burning desire for His people, saying, “I have given them everything. I have given them my sweat and fatigue on the roads of Palestine. I have given them all my Blood on Calvary. I have given them the gift of my beloved Mother; I have given myself in the Eucharist.
What more can I do that they may believe in my love?”
As a culture, we have been conditioned in false intimacy. We have forgotten, or maybe we have never even heard, that real love transforms. Real love is not satisfied with seeing its beloved down in the dirt. Rather, real love wants to pull its beloved off the ground, and love her into the perfection she was made for. Real Love whispers, “arise, my beloved, my beautiful one.”
Sooner or later, something will happen that will awaken that desire for love deep in us.
So let us give ourselves to the God of love, the God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. I for one will let the world keep what belongs to it. I will repay to God what belongs to God, giving myself entirely to Him, just like He did for me. Life for life. Love for love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maddie Kreslins is a recent graduate from Boise State University, with a bachelors in Philosophy. She just accepted a job as a high school youth minister at Sacred Heart Parish and is excitedly preparing to be a vessel for Christ to her teens. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her crazy big family, slowly working her way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy, hiking, camping, and enjoying the Idaho outdoors. She is excited to be a part of the Living Person blog and can't wait to share a small piece of her beautiful lovestory with Christ with readers.