What is the question?
After 6 weeks on the road, facing the merciless rain, Geoff and I have returned to the novitiate. The feeling of being able to sleep in my own bed on Friday evening was indescribable. I will never take another meal, food, clothing, shelter etc…for granted again, (well hopefully).
I’m the only novice in the novitiate at the moment, since Peter and Henry are still helping with the Language school and the second year novices have just left for Loyola Hall to begin their vow retreat. I had fantasised about relaxing and doing nothing for 2 weeks when I came back, but it’s not so in reality. I will leave on Friday for a national Justice and Peace Conference, and then make my way to Loyola Hall for one week to attend a Living Theology course in Liverpool.
I’m 100% sure that I will never look at another homeless person or hitchhiker the same again, without a pang of emotion filling my heart. I’ve been thinking recently about all the things and people that I’ve taken for granted all my life because they were in constant supply. Maybe even God. I was happy to tend to the homeless men and women that come to our door daily for food on Tuesday, understanding a bit more that it takes tremendous courage and humility to ask strangers for help. Without God’s grace, that could have been me doing that daily.
Hope played a big part for me during the pilgrimage. I thought about all the things I would do when I returned. Many Gospel stories and songs sustained me and remained with me during the pilgrimage particularly in the moments following rejection. The Good Samaritan, the final judgment of the sheep and goats, Jesus’ words about loving your neighbour as yourself, even the fact that there was no room in the inn for Jesus at his birth served as a source of consolation. I found myself unconsciously singing the hymn “Be not afraid”, the first night we slept in a church graveyard, which was an experience I never imagined having.
This experience has reminded me that love is the underlying principle of Christianity and the answer to many questions. At times, this may seem like an abstract idea, but I experienced that a simple act of random and unplanned kindness can make a huge difference to someone and the world. What is God asking me of today? What is he asking of you? The question for me I think is: “how I can better show love in my life to others?” since of the many questions and problems in life that arise daily, I’m pretty sure that love is simply the answer.