Reality consists of me, gifts, and the Giver of the gifts. Therefore, I face a choice between four options:
- Love the gifts but not the Giver.
- Love the gifts and the Giver, but the gifts more than the Giver.
- Love the Giver but not the gifts.
- Love the gifts and the Giver, but the Giver more than the gifts.
The first choice is not too harshly described as wicked and stupid, but sadly it is the choice of many. If this choice is wicked and stupid, then the second choice is wrong and foolish. And sadly it too is the preference of many, perhaps the majority of those who believe in God, at least in the West. The third choice is the right and wise choice for some, either temporarily or permanently as the case may be. These are the ascetics. They choose to sacrifice the gifts in order to learn to love the Giver. It is a noble choice these make and for them the right and wise choice. But, except for those who need to be ascetics for a time or permanently, the fourth choice is the right and wise choice. It is the ideal. It is what the Giver himself envisaged and envisages for us, as both his ordinary and extraordinary revelation attest.