Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reflections on the Readings

Two years ago, we had various members of our community post short reflections on the daily readings of Advent, with tie-ins to the Benedictine spirit when possible. So, for what it's worth .... here's what I wrote two years ago, as a barely one-year-old Benedictine. (We also had a very cool photo of mine of a shoot sprouting from a stump, but I don't have that scanned file here. Or is it a sprout shooting?) Even then I had an odd way of looking at things .....

Isaiah 11:1–10; Luke 10:21–24

"You have revealed them to the childlike." Of course … it's obvious. Probably one of the oldest children's games is "Hide and Seek." Kids love it, and are great at it. Why? Because they see things differently. Where an adult would see an old rotting decayed tree stump, a child's eye is caught by the swirling pattern, the creeping bugs, the tiny little flower growing up from the wood. Where an adult would see someone from the "wrong" family, a child sees only a playmate. Kids don't discriminate, don't judge from appearances; they don't get bogged down in complexities. They see things as they are, and their simple perspectives often give profound insights to the grownups in their midst.

Not to overly humanize the animals of today's first reading, but … a lamb hanging out with a wolf? The poor little innocent creature, doesn't it know it's going to get eaten that way? Doesn't it know any better? Perhaps, though … being too young to be overly set in its ways of judging, the small creature's innocence allows it to be more open to the wolf. And maybe, just maybe, the naïve trust of the lamb, its confidence in the wolf … maybe it makes the wolf stop and think. After all, everyone else runs away from him. They cower in terror at his big terrible fangs. But this little quivering fluffball, without even any claws with which to defend itself, the creature with the most need of such fear, is not afraid? Not only is it not afraid, but the lamb has actually invited the wolf as guest? No one has ever shown such a kindness, such hospitality, to the wolf before. And so maybe, just maybe, the wolf begins to rethink itself, to rethink how it views the world. Maybe then, that leads to a shift in the behavior of the wolf. The empty space allowing the freedom to change has been offered; the innocence of the child opens the door for the conversion of the adult.

The child, then, presents a unique perspective, seeing that which we grownups overlook. We see the fangs, they see the fur. We see the stump, they see the sprout. We often speak of new life coming from the wood of the cross, but how many of us notice the new life coming from the wood of a stump?

"With a little child to guide them." If we follow their lead, follow their example … maybe then we, too, can set aside judgments, giving others permission to grow and change. Maybe then we, too, can notice the details of God's movement in our life, rather than dismissing it as an old cut-down tree. Maybe then we, too, can see the new life springing from death.


Blogger Kiker said...

Hello to my favorite nun!

I can't believe you posted on my site before I posted on yours... I found your site yesterday (through somewhere) and LOVED it.

I think writing a response to advent readings is a fabulous community building/insight sharing adventure.

Good job on this one!

11/30/2005 12:38 PM  
Anonymous jeana said...

For more Advent reflections, check out this year's (including one by Steph) at www.thedome.org. :-)

11/30/2005 9:17 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Leave it to Jeana to do my shameless plugs for me. Although, you have to admit ... I certainly make mine more fun than she does (although she gets right to the point!). Love ya, though! :-)

12/01/2005 6:48 AM  

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