The Ridiculous

Listening to a radio talk show this morning, one of our friends heard a caller relate the story of her son who is in college.  When he had chosen to study the Swahili language, she questioned him.  Why? He had no specific answer at the time, but four years later, God would chose to use this language as a vehicle to comfort her. 

With a mother fighting cancer and four sisters who were all nurses in constant conflict over her treatment, not to mention some other stressful circumstances, she was losing hope.  She cried out in discouragement to God, asking for help; just wanting to know if He heard her prayers and if He cared?

Soon her cell phone showed a call from her son, a college student who rarely checked in with her from school.  Surprised to see his name, she answered.  His Swahili professor at school had approached him; she, not knowing any of his circumstances (and he, not knowing his mother’s near despair), had given him a blanket for his mother. In Swahili, the blanket had stitching with a message “God is With You”.  She didn’t know his mother or why she would need the blanket, but as always with Providence, the timing was impeccable.  She called into the radio talk show to let others know that God is with them too, and to keep going when things seem tough.

Theological Virtue: Hope

Cardinal Virtue: Justice

Human Virtue: Care/Piety, obedience

How We Will Act…

Dissecting this case, we were reminded of Mother Angelica.  In her biography by Raymond Arroyo, she relates that “Unless we are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous“.  We too are going to be open to seeing what opportunities God provides for us this week to do something which may seem silly to someone else.  Obviously, this Swahili professor was not concerned about how she appeared to her student when she went beyond the norm to give an encouraging gift without knowing any circumstances.

How We Will Pray

The Swahili professor would not have known that this student’s mother was hurting had she not been spending some time in deep prayer.  In order for us to be effective as instruments of the miraculous, we need to be spending time listening to God in deep prayer often.  The second part of this equation is the faith that we must have that God is going to work with us and even through us if we believe.  So a verbal act of faith each day will accompany our deep prayer.  “Jesus, I trust in You”.  “Lord, I believe in You.” are a few examples.

Gospel LK 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give, and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.” 
Reflections from the Group
To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…
We can’t always take the easy way out of things.  Sometimes we are going to be stretched in the process of sanctification and it may be a little uncomfortable. To participate in God’s plan for the salvation of souls by leading others to Him, we need to be kind.  Loving our enemies is difficult. We have bitterness in our hearts that we don’t want to relinquish. Somehow, it is serving us and it can feel good to be mad or have a sense of injustice about our situation.  When we have been hurt, we can feed our own pride by licking our wounds longer than we should.  Forgiveness, we have learned, is at the heart of all human wellness; mind, body and soul.
…for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked…
The kind of behavior in people that is “ungrateful” or “wicked” is off-putting, to say the least.  Naturally when you seek after Christ you desire peace, and so may be inclined to avoid interaction with someone who seems to thrive on strife, anger, or bitterness.  But Christ’s example is to show the “wicked” kindness and mercy.  It’s not hard to be hard to be kind to those who are kind to us, and as this reading states three times, “but what credit is that to you?”  Although we may not be looking for “credit” in God’s eyes, we certainly don’t want to miss an opportunity to be the one person that may actually direct a hurting soul toward God with our own kindness where no one else seems to want to venture.
As we approach the beginning of the Lenten season, we know that what God has in mind for our sanctification may not look like the picture we would paint for ourselves. There are going to be moments that stretch us and ask us to give more than we think we can.  If we find ourselves there, it is time to check our prayer life and ask ourselves if we are relying too much on our own strength and not enough on God?  It’s a continual handing over of our own will to His divine plan for our lives, which in the end will be the ultimate masterpiece.
photo by Meg's cell phone

3D art on a wall in a restaurant in NYC. We were all captivated by during our meal.

3 thoughts on “The Ridiculous

  1. I love this post. Sometimes the Lord has nudged me to do things that I didn’t understand and felt very ridiculous doing. Then, after they were done, did I find out that it spoke to someone right where they were! This post is SO true! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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