Once upon a time, a collector of rare books runs into an acquaintance. He tells him he just threw away an old Bible that he finds in a dusty, old box. He happens to mention that Guten-somebody-or-other had printed it. ”Not Gutenberg?” gasps the collector. ”Yes, that’s it!” ”You fool! You’ve thrown away one of the first books ever printed. A copy recently sold at auction for half a million dollars!” ”Oh, I don’t think this book would have been worth anything close to that much,” replies the man. ”It was scribbled all over in the margins by some guy named Martin Luther.”
Be careful about what you throw away. Be careful about what you save. Be careful about what you ask for in life.
Salvation history is filled with stories about God asking people what they really want in life. Elijah tells Elisha to ask him for anything. Elisha asks for a double portion of his spirit. The Lord appears to Solomon and tells him to ask for anything. Solomon asks for an understanding heart. Jesus stumbles upon Bartimaeus and asks him what he wants. Bartimaeus asks for his sight. Jesus turns and asks his disciples what they searched for in life. They tell him they want to see where he stays.
These people could have asked for anything: power…fame…fortune. They hung around with prophets and divine soothsayers. They could have asked, and, they would have received. Instead, all choose the way of the understanding heart. In other words, they choose wisdom.
Jesus tells us today that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in the field. But how do we find that treasure? St. Thomas Aquinas defines wisdom as “seeing from the heights.” When we rise above the problem, when we step back from the situation, when we take a time out, when we cool down, when we choose reason, when we look down from the heights, we choose wisdom to find that treasure.
Do we find that treasure in the monastery? Do I find that treasure in the abbey? Do you find that treasure in your marriage? Do I find that treasure in my life day in and day out? If I am still searching, maybe that is why God brought us here today because it is time to see from the heights. All we have to do is ask God for that understanding heart, that gift of wisdom. Every Eucharist, Christ comes to us and asks us what he can do for us. In the words of St. Paul, things work for the good for those who love God. When look down from the heights we become very careful of what we save!