Big Dig

Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)

On Sunday we discussed these two parables. Both concern an object of superlative value. Both objects lay hidden, and then they are found.

The treasure of our faith lies hidden to us, deeply buried in the unfathomable divine mystery. We have frequently to remind ourselves that our faith and religious practice aim at nothing less than Almighty God Himself.

None of us are experts on the subject of God. We aspire to know Him. But what we now know lays on the surface. The treasure lies buried. We have to dig and dig and dig.

Perhaps the Lord has given us such intellectual Popes lately in order to teach us this lesson. For a generation, the Church has been led by brilliant scholars, men of towering intellect. Like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, our Popes have tirelessly applied their minds to the task of exploring the immeasurable depths of the simple mysteries of our faith. In their preaching and catechesis, the Popes of our age have spent years tirelessly digging deeper and deeper into the mystery of God.

In Boston a few years ago, they had the “Big Dig,” to put I-93 underground. The digging seemed to go on forever. But we need not fear that our spiritual excavations will entail endless labor. As the parables tell the tale, we search for something that intends to be found. This is the most fundamental fact of revelation: God wills that we seek AND FIND Him.

Yes, He demands that we revere His transcendence, that we fear His awesomeness and never presume to be familiar with things that are high above us. But He came to us. He became man to meet us. He wants our company—doesn’t need it, but freely wills it. We were made to know Him, not to be ignorant of Him.

Our lifetime of seeking Him will run its course. He allots us our days on earth as the calendar of our adventure of learning about Him. But on every one of our days of searching, we can take comfort in the fact that He plans to welcome us home when we do finally find Him.