"Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice", Our Blessed Lord tells us. This search, to have the conditions which Jesus Christ requires, should precede in the mind and the will all other seeking; that is, we should seek the treasures of heaven in preference to those of earth, and regard them as the only real goods, the only ones worthy of our desires and efforts. We should be able to say with the most exact truth, with St. Paul: "I have counted all things but as filth, that I may gain Christ" (Phil. Ill, 8). Thus the service of God and His love should be so preferred, that we shall be ready to abandon and leave all that is opposed to them, all that does not contribute to His glory and our salvation (St. Francis de Sales).
"Seek first the kingdom of God." To understand
in what this commandment of Jesus consists, we ought to consider the unquestionable principle established by St. Augustine, that God, the sovereign Good in Himself, is the only good that man is permitted to enjoy, created goods having been given to him only for his use. According to this saint, to enjoy a thing is to repose in it, to take pleasure in it, to attach ourselves to it, to love it only because of itself. To use it simply, is to use it only as a means of obtaining what we love, and what we consider as worthy of our love. The saints enjoy God in heaven, they possess Him, they contemplate Him, they repose in Him, because even here below they enjoyed Him, not indeed seeing Him openly, but seeing Him by faith, and seeking Him only for love of Himself;using the things of this world only in reference to Him, and making them steps to attain to Him.
"Seek the kingdom of God." God reigns and will reign always and forever, whether we desire it, or not; whether we seek His glory, or are indifferent to it. If, then, Jesus orders us to seek His kingdom, it is for our interest and not for His; He Himself seeks it for us, He wills and desires our salvation: is it not most just that we should be animated with the same zeal for His glory? Let us seek it, let us desire it with ardor, let us procure it with all our strength. Let us labor to make Jesus reign first in us, absolutely, without contradiction, without reserve; afterwards in the hearts of all creatures, influencing them by our words, exciting them by our examples, and endeavoring to obtain for them by our desires and our prayers, that God may reign over them, that He may be recognized, adored, obeyed, loved, glorified as perfectly, if that were possible, as He is by His elect in heaven, so that these words may be verified in us all: "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke XVII, 21).
A Monk of Sept-Fonts (Revised by Rev. Ferreol Girardey)