Jesus told us to “store up treasures in heaven.”
The church’s name for such treasures is “merit,” and I have a nice old story about that.
When I was a high school senior in the St. Louis diocesan seminary, I used to play tennis with a college senior there. Billy Maher was fat, but his natural back hand drive scored a point every time.
I switched to a missionary order on coming out of the that diocesan seminary high school, and I travelled to Rhode Island for a year in their novitiate. The following May, in the spring of 1947, I received a letter from Billy, telling me that he was entering the Trappist Monastery at the end of June. He hoped I would be back in St. Louis soon enough for our final tennis game.
I made it back in time, and we had our final game, with his backhand catching me flat footed every time. Afterwards we laid out on the grass, with me taking a coke, and Billy a beer.
I said, “You are crazy for going into that monastery. You like your beer too much, and you like your food too much. “
Billy said, “They have great bread and cheese in the monastery.”
I said, “But, what happens when you get tired of just bread and cheese?”
Billy turned on me with a look that asked if I had learned anything in that novitiate I’d just gone through. And he said, “Why, that’s when the merit starts!”
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