The Power of Desire

The present global financial crisis has shaken our confidence in basic institutions like government and finance. Something’s wrong and has to be fixed, but how?

Can experts tell us? Most of them couldn’t see this crisis coming at all, so they should be careful with answers. I’m sure some strong voices will claim to know what to do. Hitler launched his career in the Great Depression; voices like his will be promising us better times.

Wouldn’t it be good to have this crisis make us all humble realize our limits. The whole world must search patiently for answers. Like little children crossing a busy street, we have to hold hands and stick together.

Quoting from the First Letter of St. John, St. Augustine reminds us of the limits of religious knowledge. “By these words, the tongue has done its best,” he says;  human words can never fully describe the divine reality. We must be humble approaching God. Religions should speak to the world humbly too.

“The entire Christian life is in fact a life of holy desire,” the saint says. That doesn’t mean we stop searching for knowledge; to do so would bed to deny one of our greatest gifts–our minds.  But we’re like containers meant to hold a lot. As long as we live, we wont be filled, nor can we ever be satisfied with what we know– there’s always more.

It’s desire that keeps us open to God’s promised wisdom and knowledge, Augustine says.  Desire must motivate our world today as it stumbles along looking for answers. Deisre and humility.

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