Friday, March 23, 2007

Thanks to our Rector for posting this piece of wisdom from Anthony de Mello recently on his blog:

The devil once went for a walk
with a friend.

They saw a man
ahead of them stoop down and
pick up something from the ground.

“What did that man find?” asked
the friend.

“A piece of the truth,” said the devil.

“Doesn't that disturb you?” asked
the friend.

“No,” said the devil,
“I shall let him make
a belief out of it.”

A religious belief is a signpost
pointing the way to truth.
When you cling to the signpost you are prevented from
moving toward the truth because you think you have it

Anthony de Mello, SJ
The Song of the Bird


I was reminded this morning of the story in John 9 about the man born blind. The disciples, upon encountering the blind man, asked Jesus: Whose sin caused this man to be born blind? Was it his sin or his parents' sin?

Now where do you suppose they got the idea that the man's condition was the result of sin? Their prophets? Their rabbis? Their culture? Their parents? Their scripture?

Immediately, Jesus corrected their misunderstanding: You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world's Light.

Could it be that we, like the disciples, are more comfortable with people who are born different from ourselves if we view them from a distance and discuss their condition, assigning sin and blame to them, rather than ministering to them, doing what we can to help them, embracing them as friend or neighbor? Could it be that our encounter with them is one of the many pop quizzes we get in the school of life?

"Look instead for what God can do," Jesus said. Not said, but implied was "for them and through them and for you when you get involved with them." Speculating about a person's condition is not the reason we are here, he says. We're here to do the work of our Heavenly Father. Concentrate on loving God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself. Then you won't have to worry about keeping all the laws or remembering what all the prophets said. It all boils down to these two principles.

Then setting an example for them and for us, Jesus "got his hands dirty" making mud to apply to the man's blind eyes. Immediately, the blind man regained his sight.

"But, Lord, what about him [a brother disciple]?" Simon Peter asked on another occasion, after being instructed by Jesus to "feed my sheep."

"If I want him to __________ , what is that to you?" The resurrected Jesus replied. "Remain until I return," goes in the blank, but Jesus could just as easily have said anything else. If I want him to feed my chickens, or my goats, or plow the field, or gather the harvest, don't worry about it. Do the job I gave you to do, and you won't have time to wonder about what he's doing. You will not have to answer for him, only for yourself. Get busy. The sheep are hungry.

May we take the fragments of truth we are given and not mistake our piece of the puzzle for the whole puzzle.

1 comment:

mornin' said...

Cathy, this post is very good. It's obvious you gave it a lot of thought and prayer. Your points are well taken. Thank you for sharing your heart.