A news report on the TV this morning told of some extra security a convenience store had to employ to discourage the constant increase of fearless, repetitive shoplifting incidents. Obviously, the store owner had thought through the problem and had come to a decision about how to prevent some losses. Potential thieves were probably surprised at the development. The question is, did any thieves think about the possible consequences of the frequent thefts. Did they anticipate this outcome, or did their thoughts only revolve around potential from their illegal activities? In their haste, did they think about repercussions?
In this fast-paced society, it is likely that all of us take speed for granted and sometimes neglect reflective thought. Spontaneity is often applauded as a burst of creativity, and sometimes it is, but there is value in careful thought. We think about things, but do we take time to think enough—especially when it comes to spiritual matters?
In yesterday’s Mass, the passage read from Matthew’s Gospel described Satan tempting Jesus in the desert. Satan might have expected a hungry Jesus to jump at the chance of bread to eat and not think it through to the declaration about the living word from God that offers the best kind of life.
Satan might have hoped that Jesus would throw himself from the temple parapet to reinforce his claim of sonship with God and protection from angels. However Jesus saw through the deception and temptation and took time to recall,
Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” (Matthew 4:7)
A third time, weary, thoughtful Jesus took the time to defy Satan’s logic and reached the conclusion that God is the only one that should be worshiped, despite Satan’s offer of a ton of magnificent kingdoms.
We are often tempted to do uncharitable things, ideas can come quickly in certain circumstances, and we might rush into saying or doing something harmful. If we were to slow down a tad and consider many of the possibilities or outcomes, we might refrain. Better to spend time thinking before we act than spend time afterwards wishing we had not spoken or acted.
Maybe Lent can be a time of slowing down in this fast society. Maybe we can take time to look for the Lord in a special way and use the time to savor that relationship as we try to be more attentive to His presence.
Aha, God, I see you, I know you are here.
You are near when I pray, when I doubt, when I fear.
You are found in small blessings, and in big ones too.
You surprise me, advise me, because you are you.
You are my teacher, my Savior, my shepherd, my guide;
You know all about me: what I show, what I hide.
I know that you love me, but I do get distracted.
Yet you seek me out, find me, give me friends to connect with.
You’re like gold I uncover, like oil in the ground.
You are more than all that, and your promise is sound.
When young, I kept laws out of fear and as duty.
As I’ve grown, I see you, I see truth, I see beauty.
Aha, God! You call me. May I be quite attentive!
Eternal life with you—heaven. What better incentive?