I was recently at an arcade with my children when I encountered Sean, a young 12-year-old boy. He had approached my kids, who had nearly run out of money and tickets. They had been conspiring as to how to combine their ticket-earnings to redeem for a toy which would be pleasing to both when Sean came up and simply gave them all of his tickets, and there were a lot — 300 in total. Shocked and dismayed, I asked the boy to please reconsider. Why would he give all of his tickets to strangers? Sean revealed that the tickets meant nothing to him. He said that he came to this arcade every weekend, to which my children gasped and interrupted,”LUCKY!”. He said that he had played every game, won every toy and that frankly, he was bored with the whole thing. So I asked him why he came back every weekend? He then revealed the sad truth: his father was in an adjoining room playing poker. Every Saturday night his dad handed him a wad of cash, sent him into the arcade and instructed him to have fun. The sadness present in this child’s eyes broke my heart. On the surface, he was at a child’s Mecca with unending games, snacks, prizes and excitement. However, what this boy really wanted was a relationship with his dad. He was incredibly lonely and his heart was aching to be loved.
I think we adults can learn from Sean. We scurry around seeking excitement and fulfillment through material possessions, financial security and empty relationships. The true yearning of our heart and soul, from which all of this fruitless activity originates, is a deep yearning for a relationship with our Father — Our Heavenly Father. Sean’s earthly father sent him away with indifference, but God the Father of Heaven and Earth is yearning for us. He gave us a means to cultivate this relationship — the Catholic Church. He is waiting for us every hour of every day to fill us with His love, comfort, protection, peace and joy.
Almighty God, you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you. – St. Augustine