OUR TREASURE IN HEAVEN
a review of Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe
by Clare Walker, Holy Trinity In-House Writer
Indulge yourself a little and imagine you just inherited a vast fortune: you now have hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank. What would you do?
First, the obvious things: Quit your job. Buy a new car. Pay off the mortgage. Pay off Mom and Dad’s mortgage. Remodel the house from top to bottom and do all the landscaping. Or heck, just sell and move to your own island in the Caribbean. Who cares if your mortgage is under water? As a multi-millionaire, you can afford to take a loss.
Then, hopefully, your Catholic conscience will bring you back to reality, and you’ll start a charitable foundation, fund the renovation of a center for orphaned children overseas, and anonymously donate to Holy Trinity the entire sum needed to build the new parish center.
Put the rest of the money into an account yielding enough to live on and start enjoying the free time of the nouveau riche. Paint. Sculpt. Travel. Sail. Become a connoisseur of fine wine. Go to Williams-Sonoma occasionally and blow $20 on a pancake flipper just because you can.
Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system, think for a moment: why do we think it would be so great to be independently wealthy?
It’s not really the money, is it? It’s what the money represents, and what the money really buys — intangible goods that cannot be brought home in a bag or delivered by a truck. Freedom. Peace of mind. Complete ownership of your time. The ability to not care what anyone says to you or does to you. Nothing can touch you or bother you.
The thing is, as Christians, we already have these intangible goods — in Jesus Christ.
Father Jacque Philippe writes effectively on this topic in his little book Interior Freedom (Scepter Press, 2002): “Every Christian needs to discover that even in the most unfavorable outward circumstances, we possess within ourselves a space of freedom that nobody can take away, because God is its source and guarantee. Without this discovery we will always be restricted in some way, and will never taste true happiness.”
This is why people of faith living in conditions of desperate poverty still report being happy, and why people with incredible wealth, but no God, sometimes say their lives are miserable and empty.
According to Fr. Philippe, a growing sense of internal freedom helps us live to the full now, instead of waiting for everything to be “perfect.” We realize that other people’s faults, annoying as they may be, “…do not deprive us of anything.” (Anything eternally important, that is.) “Full inner freedom comes from progressively freeing ourselves from the need for human security through the realization that God alone is our ‘rock’…”
This book is full of gems, and reading it will help you discover the true treasure we have in Jesus Christ. Published by Scepter (www.scepterpublishers.org). Explore Fr. Philippe’s other writings at www.frjacquesphilippe.com.
Clare T. Walker, a Holy Trinity Parishioner since 2003, writes for the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com). She is also an independent fiction author. Here are some handy links to her website and her books:
Clare T. Walker
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Westmont, IL 60559