“God is enough because only God will satisfy our deepest desire. But when we are one with God, then we have everything else because God is the creator of everything and everyone and is not niggardly but abundant, exuberant generosity. However, to live in this free way we have to be willing to give up the illusion that we can hold on to anything or anyone by our own efforts; we have to be willing to lose everything and trust that God will provide everything we need” (p. 191).
Fr. Barry makes the point in this chapter that God is enough, but that doesn’t mean that a person’s life should consist only of “God and me.” God created a world full of nature and human beings and all the things human beings have created, such as books and buildings, music and film, sports and games, and so on. In our gratitude toward God, we can freely enjoy all the gifts in this world. But if we turn to any of them for our deepest sustenance, we will turn those gifts into idols. Then the very gifts will get in the way of our relationship with God.
One of my idols is comfort. I love a weekend with free time for sleeping in, eating foods I may not allow myself during the week, watching movies, and wearing sloppy clothes. My comforts include food, hot tea, wine, and a couch with soft throws and pillows. These are gifts in my life. But do they get in the way of the rest of my life? Do I turn to those comforts rather than prayer when my life is hurting? Do I use those gifts as distractions when I should be spending time with people or doing work that is important?
Because I’m an introvert, I rarely use people as idols, but for some folks, this is a real temptation. Rather than prayer and reflection, how about coffee with my girlfriend? Coffee with my friend is a wonderful gift, but do I sometimes use conversation and activity with other people to avoid the interior work I should be doing?And when I’m really struggling, do I turn to God, or do I go buy chocolate?
A Spiritual Adventure for the Week
Every day this week, express gratitude to God for the specific gifts in your life.
Then, at some point, for your prayer time list your gifts and present that piece of paper to God. Place it somewhere that you can consider your altar for the week, so that when you look at that list of gifts, you can simultaneously offer them back to God—who is indeed enough.