Where Is Your Treasure?

This morning I found these in my inbox:


These are CFRs, as in “the Community of the Franciscans of the Renewal.” They’re an order founded by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, among others. They work with the poor, but also they are the poor. I always think that if St. Francis were starting today, this is what it would look like. I don’t think I’ve seen a picture of CFRs where at least one of them wasn’t grinning, which is the way it should be.

It reminded me of my own time spent among religious brothers and sisters. I spent three months in Peru back in ’08, not doing much besides sweeping, cooking, praying, and studying Spanish. Three hours of Adoration a day! It was as close to Heaven as I’ve been.

After I returned to the US, I was still coasting on that tremendous infusion, still living like a saint, or anyway trying to, which comes to the same thing. It took a while to wear off, but wear off it did.

Why did it wear off? That’s easy to answer. I stopped spending three hours in prayer every day, stopped going to daily Mass, and stopped living among people who saw themselves as walking, every moment, in the presence of God. I stopped seeing every human encounter as an encounter with the living God, and as an opportunity to bring more of His love into the world.

It’s hard to live like that!1 My tendency is always to fall asleep, to disappear into the routine, to put on the autopilot. Over and over I’m infused with grace, over and over it leaches out again. I’m like a sieve, or maybe a tire with a slow leak.

All day, since seeing those pictures, I’ve been hearing this phrase: Where is your treasure?2 He’s knocking. He wants me back.

1 Although possibly easier than the alternative, which is: not living like that.
2 As in Matthew 6:21.

10 Comments on “Where Is Your Treasure?”

  1. Perpetua says:

    Great post, Steve! I loved the way you described the infusion of grace leaching out over time. I have definitely had this experience. Currently responding to the grace to attend daily mass…wondering how far it is going to carry me into the new school year! I’m a teacher and could use the grace to see every encounter with the 7th & 8th graders in front of me, “as an encounter with the living God, and as an opportunity to bring more of His love into the world.”

    Thanks for these thoughts to ponder over coffee.

  2. Dante says:

    Beautiful, Steve. A deep inner beauty that is a reflection of who you are. Religious life exists, among other things, to remind us in the world to not forget to keep striving, to keep praying, to keep serving, to walk humbly and justly with our God always. I have discovered that the way I am able to keep Mary of Bethany’s “better part” alive in my life is through lay affiliation with a religious order. As a Benedictine Oblate I make a retreat at my abbey annually which ALWAYS restokes the fire, I have contact throughout the year with my brother monks and fellow oblates as able, I do my best to allow the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict guide my daily life. For me – and for many – this type of personal vibrant association enables the witness of religious life to be like a fuel-driven sparks that keep the pistons pumping. Oh and not just the Benedicitnes have this type of extended lay membership, you canf ind it also with almost every religious order.

  3. Rachael says:

    This is lovely. Thanks…for this and for the whole blog.

  4. Leila says:

    Short, profound, beautiful. Thank you. Gosh, I love those guys! And you, too, brother!

  5. Sean says:

    I went to college with the one second in, starting from the left side. Do you know where they are now? I wouldn’t mind reaching out to him. Thanks for the post, I can’t tell you how happy I was to see him in the photo! He’s always wanted to be a CFR, it’s been his dream.

    1. That’s awesome! I don’t know how to get in touch with them, but their site is http://www.franciscanfriars.com.

  6. James says:

    ” Over and over I’m infused with grace, over and over it leaches out again. I’m like a sieve, or maybe a tire with a slow leak.”

    Steve, first I wanted to say a wonderful post. This line struck me in an interesting way. Isn’t this exactly how God wants it to be? He wants us to keep on coming back to receive His grace and that’s what makes life with Christ such an adventure!

    God bless you for all the work you put into this blog. I am praying for you!

    1. I like your point, James, and it’s something I always forget. I always want the one fix that will make me perfect, but that’s not how it works, is it? We’re supposed to depend on him. Thanks for reminding me.

  7. claire says:

    I love this post! I am a new reader and I love the CFRs and this blog. I feel like it’s what a blog should be–just the right balance of Real, serious and really-trying-not-to-take-myself-TOO-serious.

    Thanks for the good reads. 🙂

  8. NYa says:

    I’m pretty sure those pictures were taken at Our Lady of Good Counsel, 90th St. It’s where the friars host the NYC Catholic Underground:


    The first one of this year is this Saturday, Sept. 3.

    If you’re anywhere near? Go!

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