by Ken Rolheiser
Repentance and going for the gold

When I look at life’s journey, I am reminded of the Irishman who was asked for directions to Dublin. “I wouldn’t start out from here,” he cautioned. Then I look at Doctor Peter Attia’s “strategies and tactics to increase lifespan, health span, and well-being, while optimizing cognitive, physical, and emotional health,” and I take his advice to START HERE. 

There are signs in our lives. We look for them. We rejoice at prophecies that forecast great things for us, be they in scripture or in our horoscopes. But we don’t handle the one important sign we often come across in life: REPENT!

I am reminded of a pastor and a priest from the local parishes who are standing by the side of the road, holding up a sign that reads, "The End Is Near! Turn yourself around now before it's too late!"

"Take a hike and leave us alone, you religious nuts!" shouts the first driver as he speeds by. Suddenly, from around the curve, the clergy hear screeching tires and a big crash.

"Do you think it would be better if we put up a sign that says, 'BRIDGE OUT' instead?" the pastor asks the priest. Perhaps the padres need to find a way to communicate the joy that eventually comes from conversion.

A Mother Theresa story from Melbourne, Australia, relates how she visited a poor man whom nobody knew existed. The room in which he was living was in a terrible state of untidiness and neglect. There was no light in the room.

She started to clean and tidy the room. At first he protested saying, ‘Leave it alone. It’s alright as it is.’ But she went ahead anyway. Under a pile of rubbish she found a beautiful oil lamp that was covered with dust. She cleaned and polished it and then asked him why he never lit the lamp. He answered, ‘Why should I light it? No one ever comes to see me.”

He finally agreed to light it if he got any visitors. Mother Theresa sent two of her sisters to visit him on a regular basis. After some time, the man admitted to them that he could now manage on his own. But he had one request: “Tell that first sister who came to see me that she lit a light in my life, and it is still burning.”

If we want a share in that Divine light, all we have to do is invite Jesus into our hearts and he will indeed set us free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. In time we will be transformed by the “refiner’s fire and reflect our true gold essence (Malachi 3:1-4).

We never know how close we are to striking it rich spiritually until we try. The story is told of a prospector digging for gold in Colorado. He struck a vein of gold. He quickly got his relatives and much equipment together and started mining
Alas, the vein petered out and he gave up, sold the claim and retreated. A mining engineer picked up the claim and discovered that vein of gold continued just three feet from where the prospector had quit.

Those who accept Jesus’ offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.

(558 words)