O God, teach us to number our days that we apply our heart [and life] to your wisdom.
A Word of Hope
On this Holy Thursday, we reflect on the mortality of Jesus as we face the reality of our own. Believe the words of this old man, time flies at warp speed! In this fast-paced and uncertain world, we can become so distracted in our attempt to keep up and get the next thing done that we lose sight of opportunities for spiritual growth which pass by unnoticed or ignored. God’s wisdom to strengthen our life may become a series of blessings lost and never realized in the rushed “dust” of trying to get everything done before the day ends.
Maybe that could be why we celebrate birthdays. Oh, but how rarely are birthday celebrations used to look back on missed opportunities. Much better than an annual “I screwed up and missed God’s blessing” type of birthday party would be a regular evening prayer when you inventory your day’s actions while also including those opportunities for growth and ministry which were ignored. That would give you the opportunity to correct the mistake and next day try to recapture those opportunities for spiritual growth. Fortunate for us, God is patient with our faults, and if we’re serious about developing a richer spiritual life, God will offer new opportunities each day.
As we strive to humble ourselves in opportunities to serve, we also center our Holy Thursday reflections on Jesus’ sacrificial act as the ultimate example of humility. Psalm 25.9 tells us, “God leads the humble to do what is right and teaches the humble” the way of righteousness. Currently we live in a time of very inflammatory speech and political backbiting jabs, none of which leads to peaceful exchange among people. It’s hard to act as an agent of divine peace in situations when everyone seems to carry the “I’m the best, listen to me” chip on their shoulder. The psalmist tells us that God interacts to teach the humble one.
The humble person has a right view (evaluation) of their contribution in human interactions. You can softly state your words without crawling up and down the other person’s throat. You don’t have to huff and puff up your statement. Remember the lesson of a small ocean fish. When puffer fish sense an interaction which threatens them, they swallow large amounts of water and become very large, bloated and menacing in appearance. However, an exaggeration of the fish’s belly size doesn’t really change the amount of fish that is present. So, it is with human arguments which get out of control and wildly exaggerated. The humble person can speak without distortion or “puffing up” his statement.
Jesus faced the cross examinations of a number of puffed-up individuals during Holy Week. His answer was often silence. He taught all of us a good lesson.
Lord God, quiet my mind and sharpen my attention to your Spirit’s presence in my life. It is my desire to live this day in closer relationship with you and to express your love in each of my interactions with other people. Be it ever so. Amen.
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare