Each New Morning
Each morning, after I have figured out what day it is, I ask myself what word God might be asking me to ponder. Along a similar line, I wonder what word God might be speaking to the world and would like to have passed along. It seems that this is the way the word gets around, one person speaking the good word to another. Theologian Karl Rahner writes that even when we do a somewhat poor job of proclaiming the Resurrection, the Resurrection still gets proclaimed. So maybe this is the way it is with passing the good word along.
As I listened to how different people thought our nation should respond to the recent tragedy, I was struck by the fact that what most people thought was pretty much how they responded to life events in general. Truthfully, I feel that our responses to life mostly come from what we believe.
These days, there are many emails written as open letters to the world. Early on, Deepak Chopra spoke about the fact that terrorism springs from a wound that people carry, oftentimes a wound that has come from without and which is not the person's fault or doing. I asked myself, "Is there a wound that has shaped my life responses? What is it?"
The Dalai Lama points out that there is a teaching common to most religious traditions: What you wish to experience yourself, provide for another. Do you wish to experience peace? Then provide peace for another. With this thought in mind, I meditated long on what I might wish to experience.
Although the movements of my own heart change from day to day and from morning to morning, at the moment of this writing, it seems like what I most wish is to be more and more convinced that good is more powerful than evil and that good will do its own work. Very likely, good is most powerful when I step out of the way, believe in it, trust it, and let go of any undue worry. It seems to me that, to the degree I really believe this, the power of good is set free in the world. Concretely, this is something I can do to help the world situation at this moment. Furthermore, it is the nature of good to show itself when looked upon by someone who really wants to see it.
When people asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta how they could help her overcome poverty, she told them to go home and to work in their own corner of the world. If the teaching about providing an experience for the other is correct, then a likely action that could follow would be to help another believe that good is always more powerful than any darkness and that all of us are surrounded with an invincible and loving shield and a protecting embrace present at the moment of our conception. It's in the air. God wants to do this for us and is doing it without our asking. The first step in the process would be to listen with an undistracted heart to the fears and concerns of another. Having listened, the second step would be to speak the quiet and encouraging word about the power of good and the abiding protection of God. It might even be good to bring in the idea of God's angels. Psalm 91 is most comforting in this. It speaks of God spreading wings over us providing a place of refuge. No evil shall befall us, nor affliction come near our tent, for God has given us angels to guard us in all our ways. There is a school of thought that states that even a nation has its own Guardian Angel.
Although we are to work in our own corner of the world, I have become convinced that it is a very good thing to pray for the bigger things. Here at the monastery, we prayed that the people of Afghanistan would be given supplies, and that the refugees would find shelter, protection and education. This is happening. There are times when it is a good thing to expect that what we pray for will happen. This is one of those times.Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.