Emptying Out To Be Filled Up


For Lent, I have been reading the book “Catholicism” by Father Robert Barron.  One of the things he speaks about is how people try to fill the void they feel in their life with things that don’t really work. 


He writes in the book, “Thomas Aquinas said that the four typical substitutes for God are wealth, pleasure, power, and honor. Sensing the void within, we attempt to fill it up with some combination of these four things, but only by emptying out the self in love can we make the space for God to fill us.”


I knew that I had stumbled upon an important quote and stopped reading to think about just what exactly this could mean. 


I understand that people do live for wealth, pleasure, power and honor.  But I didn’t quite understand what Thomas Aquinas or Father Robert Barron meant with the “emptying out” part of the quote.  Although I am not a theologian, after some contemplation, I realized that those four things aren’t bad, but they are when they overcrowd your soul and leave no room for God.


I myself have a problem with filling up my life with material pleasures.  I am always looking for the thing that will make me instantly happy—shopping, eating, etc.  When I don’t have that instant “fix” I get depressed.  But when I remember to turn to God instead of the next material thing, I find that I am a happier, more content person. But it is a struggle every day.


What do you think this quote means?  Do you think you try to fill your life with one of the four things listed by St. Thomas Aquinas? 


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