How Comfy is Your Box?

One of the early things that I learned in “Theology School” was the way that God works. Do I have all of the answers, no, but I know what the plan looks like. It reminds me of a 70’s TV icon called “the A Team” where the hero figure often finished saving someone or something and would bluster to the rest of the team: “I love it when a plan comes together!”
The plan is not complicated, there is God and there is us and the rest of the human race. God gives, we take and with any amount of luck we wind up being the givers instead of the takers with the skills and desire to make others givers too. Basically, it’s an economic system. God invests in us and we are given the tools and ability to grow and multiply. The system can increase exponentially depending on our talent, work and willingness. The professors at the Catholic Theological Union described this as “The economy of God.” This financial metaphor is surprisingly accurate and finally gave me a clarity about the works of God and man like I have never had before. You have principle, interest, investment, boom, bust, increase of wealth, decrease of wealth, utter poverty.

One of the key points, though, about the economy of God is the hidden danger that it can contain. Like investors that have gotten good advice we can become complacent about how we handle our funds (grace) and how willing we are to re-invest them. Do you want a return of 1% or 10%? Financial advisors tell us that those investors who never check their portfolio and never update are the ones who are in danger of losing the most. They are not prepared if a disaster occurs. They have become complacent and almost too comfortable in the way things are working for them. For money to multiply it must be moving. It flows to and from investment and back again bringing with it more dollars as a result of the movement. Savvy investors know this and benefit from the principle.

The economy of God is no different. It’s easy to be a brand-new investor and work on managing what little we begin with. Prayer is obvious and easy, sharing with others in need is not hard to find. Righteous behavior is clear as the eye can see. We settle into a comfortable “investment” routine and soon enough our regular practices become comfortable space that we always occupy. Perhaps we let our guard down. Maybe we believe that we deserve this “good luck” as a reward for our diligence. Could be that we have simply gotten too comfortable in our diligently self-constructed box. God has obviously blessed us for our efforts!

As believers, the Lord expects us to stand ready to travel light at a moment’s notice. Recall the His prescription for Passover in Exodus 12:11. In God’s economy the more we know, the more work we are equipped to do. When we are armed to the teeth with a robust faith and sound knowledge that is just about the time when he expects us to be mobile. Those experienced in faith are really the ones who have figured that there is not one predictable thing about God and what he wants from us.

[The] Gospel calls us to expect that God will answer our prayers. Faith is power, for it is a link to the reality of God, the power that made and sustains the cosmos. When we remain in the narrow confines of our perceptions, our thoughts, our hopes, we live in a very cramped way.

To have faith is, to use the current jargon, to live outside of the box, risking, venturing, believing the impossible. Sometimes, the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. There is a long tradition, stretching back to Jesus himself and including many of the saints, of faith healing. When someone consciously and confidently opens himself to God, acting as a kind of conduit, the divine energy can flow. (Bishop Robert Barron’s commentary on Mt 7:12-14)

Look around you. Have things become too routine and predictable? Maybe you need to reconsider how the economic exchange between you and God is going. Comfort doesn’t always equate with success. Step outside of the beautiful box you have constructed and see what’s “out there”.

Copyright© 2017, Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn holds a Master’s in Education from Saint Xavier University. Most recently she completed Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from The Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. This recent degree was part of a “retirement project” after teaching for 35 years. She has also worked as a spiritual director, music minister,council member and prayer team warrior. Kathryn has a deep interest in catechesis for the people in the pews. As a “sort of” convert she finds the wisdom of the Church a source for encouragement, joy and survival in a world not sure of anything. Her writing has appeared in diocesan publications and on-line sites, most recently for Zenit. To learn more about Kathryn check out her thinking at: www.atravelersview.org”>ATravelersView.org.

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