DESPITE whatever, we cannot deny that there is in us an inherent desire for what is good, and ultimately for God and for heaven. This truth about ourselves is dramatized in that gospel episode where Herod was so intrigued about Christ that he longed to see him.
This is how the gospel says it. “Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, ‘John has been raised from the dead’; others were saying, ‘Elijah has appeared’; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ But Herod said, ‘John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?’ And he kept trying to see him.” (Lk 9,7-9)
Yes, despite our weaknesses, mistakes, sins, etc., we have in our heart of hearts an inherent desire for God. As the Catechism would put it, “This desire (for happiness) is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.” (1718)
This truth of our faith is also illustrated in that gospel episode where a rich young man approached Christ, asking what he had to do to gain eternal life. (cfr. Mk 10,17-27) As that gospel story unfolded, Christ told him first to follow the commandments, and when the young man said that he had observed all those, Christ then told him to “sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
Again, this truth of our faith shows us that no matter how bad a person is, there is deep within his heart a desire for God. This is what the Catechism teaches us about this truth: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.” (CCC 27)
Just the same, that desire can be thwarted by a variety of reasons and, thus, cause bad consequences. Herod’s urge to see Christ was not so much a matter of following him as of eliminating him. So, let’s just also be prepared for the worst scenarios in our life.
By preparing for the worst scenario, we would be imitating Christ himself who, in redeeming us, prepared himself for the worst. In fact, he already knew about his death and how it was going to be. “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him,” he told his disciples, “and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” (Mk 9,31)
Toward this end, we should just make sure that our love of God is always vibrant. We have to make it grow day by day. We have to feel that love so intensely such that it is actually what would energize us in any endeavor we have.
We have to see to it that we do not take this love for granted. This is the best and ultimate weapon we have to prepare for the worst scenario in our life. With this love, we would be willing to go through what Christ himself went through—suffering all the indignities of the world and ultimately dying on the cross. But then, after death, there is the resurrection, the final victory that is meant for all of us, irrespective of how we fare in this life. By Fr. Roy Cimagala (EV Mail September 19-25, 2022 issue)