I was recently visiting my grandparents over the holidays. They are in their mid-eighties and moved out of their home into an apartment this past fall. It was a bit sad to see how they downsized in their new place. Many of their possessions were given away or sold.
True to her nature, my grandmother graciously invited me to stay for stew. I smiled, because although the scenery changed, some things never change -- like my grandmother always extending a home cooked meal to her eldest granddaughter.
After I left visiting them, I realized what had remained the same: their spirit of hospitality, sharing, welcome and love. They always made you feel loved and like you belonged. What that home enriched in their souls still lived on. That was most important. I’ll remember those things more than I’ll remember what they had in their home after they pass someday.
So often in the Gospel we hear of the dangers of possessions, accumulating too much, and attaching ourselves to things of this world. These truths have their merit. Possessions can poison the soul if we don’t use them well and if we accumulate things for the sake of selfishness or greed.
But our gifts and possessions can and do enrich our souls, especially when we share them with others or when we use them for the glory of God in love and charity. My grandparents did that well, having five children, 14 grandchildren, and many friends with whom they shared their lives.
When they moved, they lost stuff, but they didn’t lose the Spirit in their souls because those gifts weren’t stumbling blocks. They were bridges to the virtues that they model so well.
As life takes from us over time and as God inevitably makes us give up some of what we have, let’s always remember what remains: how those gifts helped mold our souls and nurture our Spirit.