May, 2006

God-given promptings

Seeing Differently


I have always marveled at the transforming power of one small quotable quote. Sometimes, it appears in the midst of many other sentences on the written page. At other times, it manifests itself in the course of casual conversation. Surprisingly, these unexpected gifts of the Spirit seem to summarize one whole aspect of life, and carry with them a certain energizing strength.


Along this line, there is a quote from St. John of the Cross that comes to mind. Paraphrased in today’s language, it would read: “Make honey out of all that happens.” In this context, St. John bows to the humble bee.


These days, I have been pondering just how one goes about making honey. If there is such a thing as a rain-maker, surely, there must be a honey-maker. It seems to me that if anyone wishes to make honey from all that happens, then that person will need to be someone who sees differently. For the most, it is not what happens to us that affects us one way or the other. It is how we see it. Most of us are acquainted with the well-known writer, Viktor Frankl, who tells us that everything can be taken from us, but one thing – to choose our way of seeing in any given circumstance. In effect, this means that we are always invited to pray the events of life. In a way, the Easter and Pentecost season never really comes to a close.


Recently, one of our homilists at Mass told the story of a little girl, who every day peered through the window at a sculptor carving something out of a very big rock. Finally, the sculptor invited the little girl inside to see the process up close. Caught up in awe and wonder, and watching with eyes wide open, the little girl quietly asked, “How did you know there was a lion in that rock?”


During these Weeks of Easter, the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus has been told more than once. Their eyes were dimmed and their hearts were heavy. Things were not as they had expected. But then, a Stranger came along. Actually, their eyes were not opened until they extended hospitality. It occurs to me that in most situations, there is a Stranger who wants to be invited in. It can be a person, or even just another way of looking at things. We all know that, although it takes courage and bigness of heart to see things differently, most often the end result is an enviable inner peace and serenity.

Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.


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