The foundation is the most important part of our spiritual lives. I fall into the trap all the time that in order to be a good Catholic, to be holy and loved by God, I must always make sure that I am doing the right things. Never can an idle moment go by that should be spent working on this or that project, reaching out to this or that person, bustling about in unending activity. But Jesus says elsewhere that a tree is known by its fruit.
So wouldn’t it follow that lots of holy and pious activity is indicative of my thriving relationship with God? Remember that Gods ways are not our ways. God is not our CEO in a three-piece suit with a checklist trying to reach productivity goals. It’s funny when you think about it like that, but I feel like I unwittingly act like that’s the case! No, the fruit God desires are what Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.” He goes on to say in verse 24, “Now those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.” The fruit God desires cannot be measured by looking at your calendar. It cannot be seen by consulting a to-do list. God’s main work is the work of the heart.
A good friend once reminded me that my first priority is to become a saint. Every single thing that we do should be ordered toward that end. Every text I send, Netflix show I watch, interaction I have is an invitation God gives me to be a saint. But it doesn’t start there. Being a saint must be the fruit of a lived relationship with the One, True God.
Truly, that is what Jesus is saying here. We could do great and mighty works in the name of Jesus, but they are empty if we do not act like the “wise man who built his house on rock.” We must listen to the words of Christ and act on them! We must listen and adopt the beatitudes which Jesus had given His listeners shortly before this passage.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to sculpt our hearts to become poor in spirit because only then will Jesus be able to enrich our poverty with the treasure of His love.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to sculpt our hearts to become mournful, meek, merciful, and clean of heart because only then will we be free from pride and egoism that says “I am God and God is my servant.”
Good works are good and important, but they are empty without a lived relationship with Jesus. So strive for a firm foundation. You’ll know you’ve found it when the works produce themselves.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization