Walking in the Promise
Rachel Naomi Remen tells the story of an only daughter attending the last days of her dying father. Although her father had been outstanding in his profession, it appeared that he had considerable difficulty communicating anything that did not have to do with his work. Before his death, however, this changed. One day, the daughter asked her father what he felt was the contribution he had made to the world that made everything worthwhile. She expected him to mention some award-winning project. Instead, her father smiled at her and said, “You, of course.” These were the last words he spoke to his daughter.*
Around this time of year, we find our hearts pondering the life and works of St. Teresa of Avila, a very determined woman, foundress, and a well-known teacher of prayer. We may ask ourselves what was the one thing this saint gave to the world, a gift that has endured. Although Teresa had many gifts, the one thing that should be mentioned is that she taught the world how to be a friend of God. Without a lot of strenuous work on her part, Teresa walked in the light of God's promise to her, a promise that was fully realized in the Seventh Dwelling Place. What is attractive to the promises of God is that we need not wait until the end of our lives to see them unfold. The promise is there at work upon awakening, even before we know what day it is.
It seems helpful to reflect on what the special and unique promise of God to us might be. One way to find out is to ask ourselves what we like most about God. A corollary of this is to ask ourselves what we like the most about ourselves, something that seems to come naturally. It is this that we will leave to the world in the end.
* Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather's Blessings . (New York: Riverhead Books), 2001, p.166.
Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.