You probably aren’t tempted to build an altar for Molech like Solomon. If you’re on this email list, then I bet you’re also against modern versions of syncretism. But in preparation for Christ the King Sunday, it’s time for a heart test. This test is a little different than most but will tell you if you’re more subtly going the way of Solomon.
The story of Solomon
You know the story: at the start of his reign, Solomon prayed not for riches but wisdom, so God gave him both. If you’ve had a true conversion moment, then you’ve prayed in a similar way. And, God has also given you both, as we live in the comfort of kings compared to any other era of history.
But Solomon allowed himself to become attached to his wealth, and this was the beginning of the end. That may not sound like you, but each of us treads the same path when we put the gifts above the Giver. Chances are that you and I don’t consciously choose to do such a thing, but this is the slide of the heart.
A cautionary tale from St. John of the Cross
Consider the slippery slope of Solomon as related by St. John of the Cross:
Who would have thought that a man as perfect in the wisdom and gifts of God as Solomon could have sunk into such blindness and torpor of will? Yet this was caused by nothing else than … he did not deny his heart what it asked of him. … [T]his rush after his desires and the failure to deny them, gradually blinded and darkened his intellect so that finally the powerful light of God’s wisdom was extinguished.
This process began for Solomon when he forgot God in the midst of enjoying lawful pursuits which were, in fact, God’s gifts.
A test for your heart
So here’s a test. When you’re driving by yourself or waiting in line, what do you think about most often? The answer reveals the primary attachments of your heart.
It could simply be what you need to do, and that alone tells you something. It might be what impression you made in the last interaction or how you’ll impress in the next one. It could be your work, a recreational pursuit, or even sex.
But St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). That’s done as we learn to continually experience life through communion with God. When this happens, we train our hearts to turn to him first, and we experience God’s gifts with constant gratitude to the Giver. We still have to think about temporal things, but we turn to God first, we long to commune with him more, and we see all that we do in the context of his Providence.
Preparing for Christ the King
This Sunday we’ll proclaim Christ as King of the Universe, and we’ll pray that his reign be more recognized in our land. Let’s begin by asking Christ to be the King in our hearts. If this happens, then we’ll be more fit to reign with him than Solomon.