It’s Saturday morning here in Amberley and over coffee looking out from my office to the Autumn garden I am thinking back over a few of the moments of the week.
Some years ago I realised that the things that happen during a week only have power to make or break my week if I give them that power.
Yesterday I casually asked someone how their week was going and without hesitation they responded that they had had a terrible week. When I asked them why, they related a specific incident that certainly was tough for them. As they told me about what had happened they were angry and anxious.
A few minutes later I shared with them one of my significant moments during the week, a positive encounter that had deeply inspired me. The person who had just moments earlier been preoccupied by their difficulty immediately began to speak of a positive experience in their own week. As they shared they became light-hearted, relaxed and animated.
Very soon it became clear to me (and to them) that the most significant moment of their week was not their tough moment, but the other encounter that I would call “graced.”
Why do we give the negative moments such power to disrupt and even de-rail us? It is as if we forget the reality of God’s grace and positive action in our lives, even in the circumstances that we might rather be without.
My Saturday morning ponderings have been prompted by the scripture readings for Mass this weekend, especially the gospel reading:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
There is room in the heart of God for all of us who accept this divine invitation. However there are also dwelling places that are not of God. Just as there are many dwelling places in the house of God, so too there are many dwelling places in the house of the evil spirit. When we allow our hearts to be troubled and grow faithless we are (often subconsciously) moving out of the house of God and into the house of the evil one.
Of course remaining in the house of God does not mean that our weeks are free of difficult moments. These problems and burdens are the stuff of earthly human existence. But then again our prime desire is not to be free of difficulties, it is to know that we are loved, and in the house of God we know that we are loved.
In the many rooms of the house of God we find the company of many others who seek God. This is exactly the kind of earthly friendship that we need.