Spirituality for Today – September 2014 – Volume 19, Issue 2

In Gold We Trust?

Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

A photo of gold

She was beautiful. She was covered from head to toe in gold. She was dead. Fame came to rest on actress, Shirley Eaton playing the gold plated victim of Auric Goldfinger. The obsession for gold compelled 007's villain to concoct a scheme to raid Fort Knox and relieve it of its treasure trove of gold bars. Fifty years ago this month, the James Bond movie, Goldfinger debuted in theaters across America. James Bond's nemesis has become the ultimate cinematic paradigm of all consuming desire. Perhaps, we have known someone (ourselves?) whom others might feel that there is an inordinate awe given to something or other by that person. As I write this article, there is a picture of me with a beloved Labrador retriever owned friends of mine that was cared for and cared about beyond the norm. In addition to pictures, there are coffee mugs, door mats, refrigerator magnets, Christmas ornaments, and even an oil painting of their pet. What is it that drives a person to raise some object or person to such an extreme status in one's life?

Are we defined by our ambitions? How much of our character is revealed by that which we value above all else? We can question if the same fuel powers the engine of achievement within both the good and the bad alike. We can debate over the food that nourishes the mechanisms of moral or immoral actions. The Roman Emperor and philosopher, Marcus Aurelius opined, "Examine men's ruling principles, even those of the wise, what kinds of things they avoid, and what kind they pursue." If our desires – even obsessions – require the degradation and destruction of the rights and dignity other human beings, obviously a reassessment of these goals and their consequences are in order. If we are on fire with the love of God, then we are required to measure the methods of employing that love and the criteria we bring to bear in maintaining the authenticity of the results we wish to attain. Accomplishing something in life seems to be a part of our DNA, an impulse of God's creative forces within us, and a mark of the significance of being alive. For good or ill, we are the initiators of all this activity and the authors of its purpose. We better pay heed to the quality of the seeds we sow because we shall be there at the harvest.

In the final analysis, the cause of a person's persistent drive toward a particular goal is the achievement of what may be called – fulfillment. This word denotes a reaching of a desired result that gives the feeling of completion, wholeness, and satisfaction. Within the term itself, the word "full" expresses its meaning; there is no more to be added, to be attained, or to be required. On a worldly plane, there are many accomplishments in which there is conveyed a feeling of fulfillment: earning an academic degree, winning a coveted job, reaching a financial goal, or being awarded some ultimate accolade. Yet, even then, there is a germ of the passing, the temporary, the longing for something more that slowly grows and causes a restlessness of spirit. A sign of the insufficiency of what life can give becomes more and more apparent. Through this fact, the truly thoughtful, the spiritually alive will become alert to the need of God.

You cannot do anything without God. It is a profound and elemental truth. Not, you cannot do most things without God. You will not be able to do anything that you want, truly, in fulfillment, without God.

– Marco Rubio

Making our way through the stages of life presents a number of closings and openings in regard to what is important and desirable. In living, we pursue that which we determine to be the treasures of life. Whether containing merit or not, we hunger for them. If our efforts are influenced by the God's grace, how truly wealthy we shall become. Along the journey, we are invited by the Creator to enjoy, use, and give the gifts of life for our benefit and the benefit of others. In doing so with an eternal purpose, we can gain insight into God's will and sip from the cup of true fulfillment. Dag Hammarskjold said, "Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road that makes death a fulfillment." At the point of death, I wonder if we shall spend time in assessing the product of our years and, if so, will the honesty of our assessment affect the ease of our passing? Will our life reflect the pursuit of a life in service of God or the worship of a golden idol? I pray that we may have all that we have desired and that our understanding of it and our use of it witnesses to the Author of all of it. May all that we finally possess be of lasting worth. Dare I say that we might achieve a "golden" halo?