Everything Belongs to God

By Bishop Donald J. Hying / Catholic Herald

The heart of the spiritual crisis which has engulfed the West for many decades now is the collective failure to remember that we belong to God and that all we have is a sheer gift from the benevolent compassion of His Heart.

Many philosophers would name this compulsion to grasp, possess, and control everything, “willful desire,” the fallacy that true freedom is the capability to do whatever one wants, that nothing is restricted or off-limits, that my fulfillment as a person comes in this unlimited package of endless choice.

Sin, immorality, and evil are simply archaic holdovers from a medieval period when the Church dictated moral norms.

Freedom arrives in the radical overthrow of such rules.

If my life is simply my own possession, if nothing is a gift and belief in God is a myth, then I am master of my own destiny.

My human nature becomes plastic and infinitely malleable.

I can express myself in any way I choose. I can try on different gender identities and act out sexually as my desire leads me.

My wealth, possessions, time, and talent are primarily for my personal enjoyment and pleasure.

I may choose to be generous to others, but I don't have to be.

Commitments of any kind are repugnant because they limit my freedom and weigh me down.

Life is an enticing horizon of infinite choices, all guided by my willful desire.


Life: a gift from God

An authentic human existence, rooted in the truth of God, rightfully understands life as a gift from the Creator, and by that fact, there is a “givenness” to everything, including my own humanity.

By respecting the nature of things as God created them to be, by accepting the moral limits which God has placed in my heart and in the life of the Church, I come to understand true freedom as the ability to become the person that God has called me to be, to choose the good and make a radical gift of myself in love, even as God has given Himself to me in Jesus Christ.

The moral life indeed has firm limits, but they are the metal barriers in place to keep a car from going off a precipice as it ascends a high mountain.

How liberating to embrace our dependence, poverty, and need for God, to acknowledge everything as an unmerited gift from His holy hands, to live in love and humility, passing on as a gift what we ourselves have received.

Such a life rapidly fills with joy, peace, friends, meaning, hope, and fulfillment.

A living faith can even embrace sufferings, defeats, and death itself as opportunities for self-transcendence, to let God be God, to let Jesus rescue and save me.

If I still think I own the vineyard and cannot make that leap of surrender, then I must jealously guard all that I falsely claim to possess.

In such a sinful stance, other people become competitors, rivals, obstacles to my pleasure and fulfillment.

Mind Power NewsEven God becomes an enemy who threatens my puny and false sense of self and freedom. I become my own God in such a distorted vision.

Conversion frees us to sacrifice our lives and gifts for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven and the full liberation and salvation of my neighbor, to build a civilization of life and love. This labor of self-gift is the nature of the work in the vineyard.

Yes, it is a back-breaking, exhausting and often thankless task, but think of how sweet the wine will taste at the end!

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