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"The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want...and want...and want..."

Today marks the end of the liturgical year. Next Sunday, we enter into Advent as we prepare for Christmas. We end the year with the feast of Christ, the King of the Universe (which, I admit, sounds a bit like the name of a boxer with "the Universe, universe, universe" resonating in the arena.)

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyhow, today's psalm is easily the best-known: Psalm 23. We sang today: The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. The psalmist not only recognizes the Lord in his life, but recognizes that the Lord is the only thing necessary for his life.

This is a deeply ironic thought, given that we just celebrated our nation's premiere holiday: shopping. (Sure, we had Thanksgiving, but mostly it's about shopping.) On Thursday, we gathered around the table and gave thanks for all of our many blessings. On Friday, we went out and bought stuff that we didn't mention at all on Thursday, but now seemed to be of the utmost importance.

I'm not a holiday shopper. I can't stand crowds, and going to the mall is not one of my favorite things to do on any weekend. But I'll tell you: I struggle with that "want."

I have more clothes than I can wear in a month. I own more shoes than I can wear in a month. A different set of jewelry every day? No problem. But I always can use more...and more...and more.

When I was out of work for four months this past year, I - by necessity - had to curb my internet shopping. But we were broke, so I couldn't have purchased anything anyway. But now that I'm working, I feel that familiar urge. Honestly, I don't need another black skirt, or another pair of earrings. But I sure do WANT.

St. Augustine knew what he was talking about when he described the God-shaped hole we are all trying to fill within. We can jam alcohol in that hole, or shoes, or trips to the casino. It won't help. And it won't help if we have one more drink or buy another pair of boots or scratch of one more lottery ticket. We cannot fill that hole with anything but God.

Yet, we try.

Christ spoke to me today: Why do you keep wanting STUFF when you have Me? You praise Me with your lips, but not your heart. Why do you let your WANT be greater than Me?

St. Francis of Assisi came to a point in his life where he got this. He stripped naked in the public square, relinquishing his fine clothing and family money. He put on a scratchy brown robe, with a rope knotted about his waist, and never looked back. He had all he wanted, which was Christ the Lord.

There is not one single thing I can add to my life to make it better. There is no thing. It is, rather, a who, the person of Christ. He is King of the Universe, but not yet of my soul. I'm not ready to put on the scratchy brown robe (and I'm not called to that anyway.) I hope, however, that I can have less of the "want" and more of the "know." I want only Christ.


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