Spirituality of the Readings
If today has been “one of those days” for you, meaning stressful and tiring, maybe you could let the readings for Sunday bring you home for a while. Look especially at the Second Reading, taken from the letter to the Ephesians. It calls us to
• live with humility.
Humility means to accept all that you are and all you are not. Relax. You do not have to be God in order to be beloved. Lives that have a great need to be huge and greatly respected and listened to and in control are based on fear, not humility. Try to accept, gradually, the love God has for you, the love that makes you safe. You are who you are.
• live with gentleness
This can be a little more difficult. Commercials say that women have to be always beautiful or be rejected. They must be happy with their detergent, take care of others, be as strong as men, keep up the social calendar and have a full time job as well. These are some of the pressures advertising puts on women. Plus, they have to “matter,” going on the largest march in the history of this country. Relax. God is the gentlest acceptor of all, milder than any product, milder than the air we breathe. Relax. You are enough. We are each loved by the infinitely gentle God.
As far as that goes, culture tells males that gentleness is just for women and children. Men used to be tough, all tough, and only tough. Relax. Yes, men’s and women’s bodies and minds have the capacity to be strong, but peace comes from balancing this nature with tenderness toward our mates, our families, our religious brothers and sisters, our elders, our friends.
• live with patience
Patience can be defined as “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” This is a good enough definition, but did you know that the Latin origin of the word patience (patior) means “to allow, or to acquiesce”? We are to allow the gift of life in all its forms, not push it away because there is too much else to do. God gives us our selves one minute at a time, one hour after the other, not all at once. If you want to “have it all and have it now” you are going against your nature. Each moment, each flower, each step is precious if we take time to “let it be.” Accept the gifts of the compassionate giver and let the clock have a rest.
• bear with one another through love
Think how wonderful it would be if someone were to bear with you, even when you mess up. You would not have to be anything but your own adequate self, loved by God, able to bear up under the surprisingly light burden of loving others.
• finally, it calls us “to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace”
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all
We are all to keep this Lord before our eyes. The God who gives lasting peace.
This is our hope. This is our call. This is the “barley loaf,” the “one bread” we will receive in our very hands on Sunday (First Reading and Gospel).
One bread, one body, one Lord of all.
John Foley, SJ
**From Saint Louis University