Saturday, August 20, 2016

It's Not Complicated

Yesterday's very basic gospel set me to thinking about a beautiful exchange I had on a very difficult day with one of the youngest pilgrims, a girl of 11.

Here's that gospel:

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Mt. 22:34-40

She was sitting next to me in a bus, and as was happening with significant frequency in those days, I was crying. Just tears running down my face.

She asked me some basic questions about what was wrong. I gave her basic answers, explaining that I was sad. She told me, simply, that she was sorry that I was sad.

Hours later, we sat near each other again, and again she asked me how I was.

I was deeply aware of two things. First, her simple act of noticing and sharing my sorrow earlier had helped me significantly. Secondly, I was experiencing something that God had taught me a profound lesson about twenty years ago. The lesson was about what it looks like to love God and love neighbor. My "teacher" in the lesson was the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross, beholding and sharing in the suffering of her Son. Her lesson was that she wanted other people simply to look at Jesus, not to turn away from Him, not to be absorbed elsewhere, but to behold Jesus, even if it was simply on the level of seeing a man suffering, and responding with the heart. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy."

So I told my young friend I was feeling stronger, and thanked her for helping me. That her being sorry for my sadness reminded me of Mary's love.

We need not making loving God and loving neighbor so complicated.

No comments:

Post a Comment