Nothing Is Something More

empty-box“Take nothing with you,” says Jesus as his apostles exit for their road trips. “Nothing.” When we have so much, how can “nothing” have a religious definition for us?

There are more self-storage facilities all over the city holding things that people once needed and think they will need again in the sometime-future but just not today. I passed a large rummage sale on someone’s front lawn and wondered, “When they wanted and used all that stuff, where was it all kept?”

But Jesus says, “To take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals (stone roads, and all) but not a second tunic” (a tunic for the men, a housecoat for the women).

Jesus says, “Nothing.” Not a thing. Was he talking about stuff or is he referring to the stuff of our lives, usually stuffed with nothing more than ourselves. (I live alone but have three TV’s! Weird!)

When I listen to confessions, I deliberately empty my mind of anything except the absolution that I’m gifted to offer. When I anoint someone, it’s God’s grace that is prayed for; not what I wonderful priest I am.

I don’t know if you know this but if you do all the talking, you’re not learning anything? It’s true. Study after study has proven that statement. That’s not true because there needs to be no study. It’s called common sense. A major study conducted by the PEW foundation discovered that “You’re not as interesting as you think you are.” That’s not true either, but you get the point. When you’re full of yourself and all your wonderful words and stories, then there is barely enough room for someone else in your life. We even have an expression for it, “He’s ‘full of himself.’” Bloated. Don’t you want to take a pin and watch all the air escape that person?

When you experience “nothing,” then there’s room for all kinds of people, ideas, and opinions to fill yourself – mixed together with your own experiences. Isn’t that what communion is? Community? Before receiving the Body of Christ, we say, “Lord, I am nothing without your grace.” “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my self-storage of successes, regrets, doubts, and wonderings. Only say the word, and my soul will find nothing other than Your love.”

So the next time you’re with friends, “Shut up” and see what happens. No, hear what happens. The next time a good story is told to you, and you attempt to tell a better story, “Shut up.” Let your friend have the moment. It may have nothing to do with evangelization, but it’s a healthy healing for both of you; making you nothing and making your friend a valued person.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.
All available in paperback or Kindle on

                                                     “Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of humorous and reflective letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Soulful Muse,”

inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
                                                  “Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons of
Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
                                        “Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture

                         “Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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