In case you missed it, the Gospel on Sunday was the Parable about the man who discovered a treasure in a field. He sold everything he owned to buy the field. The accompanying parable was the merchant of fine pearls who sold off everything he owned for the pearl of great price.
Fr. Poumade (sp?) gave a great sermon on Sunday, talking about how modern life these days distracts us from a true love of God. Our ideas of love have been tainted by the Hollywood-style mooshy-gooshy kinds of love, and we forget that true love is the willing sacrifice of oneself for the good of another, not just good feelings. Since God already has everything that is good for Him, the highest forms of love that we can give Him is obedience to His commands and the following of Our Lord's example, since He deserves nothing less. Our obedience should be motivated by love of God, not just a desire to avoid hell. It was one of those sermons that felt like it was directed solely at me.
After Mass, I talked to Fr. P about how one can move from the love of God that is motivated by the fear of hell to the kind of love that is motivated by nothing but a desire to do His Will. Obviously, there is no one answer (like, "Read this book, and you'll be there,"), but Fr. P had a good number of suggestions, and he gave me one piece of advice which is tried and true: act like you love God and you will eventually develop the right kind of love.
My next question was how do I act like I love God and participate in the joy that should come along with that without being a conceited prick, like what you see in modern Protestant ministers or people who seem to be always happy-go-lucky or slain-in-the-spirit or whatever else seems very fake and superficial. He told me that I was seeing the difference between true joy and optimism. True joy is serenity: nothing disturbs your love for God, whether good things or disasters occur. Optimism is a constant forced high that often crashes and burns with disaster.
Of course, I'm remembering all this two days after the fact -- a lot was said, and I'm forgetting a lot of it, but this was the gist of it. It was really good to hear.
This blog contains the random thoughts that enter into my mind. Most of these will be of a serious nature that I will then proceed to mangle until unrecognizable. But I may yet discover truth in something...