January 8, 2010
New Year's Day, we attended Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville, SC. I have been to this church many times, as it's where my in-laws attend. Their priest, Father Doc, is a precious man and always gives me something to think about. This year, he spoke of his challenges for us for the new year. He first challenged us to read more scripture, to spend more time reading God's word. Okay, I think to myself, this is a great one that I've been meaning to get to anyway. Check. The next challenge was to pray the rosary. This is something Ross and I have done in sweet moments during hikes, on moutaintops, on the rocks of the Atlantic in St. Lucia. It's special to us and we plan to continue it. Check 2. His last challenge was to heed Pope Benedict's call in his Christmas eve homily- to be humble and docile. Um....humble and docile. I nearly laughed outloud. Really almost laughed. I am not humble. I am not docile. Just when I thought I had the new year spiritual challenges on a manageable level, here comes the call to be DOCILE?
Webster says to be docile is to be "easily taught" or "easily led." Yeah, that's notsomuch written next to my name in the dictionary. So after asking God about 10 times if he was sure that this is what He wanted me to work on for the new year, I conceded. And I prepared myself for the marathon of listening and learning and being receptive to God's desires for me. The following week Ross and I were at Fellini's for dinner. I told him I really felt God asking me to forgive someone in my life. We'll call him Joe. I told Ross that I wanted let God teach me and lead me, but this was the first time in my life I had to exercise the difficulty in forgiveness. I said that Joe has never asked for my forgiveness, never admitted any wrong doing. Ross smiled at his dumb wife and said, "babe, the people who ask for forgiveness are the easiest to forgive." It's the ones who don't acknowledge they have hurt you who are the ones we really have to forgive. I stuck out my bottom lip and resisted, unsure if I could really forgive Joe. And then I heard Fr. Doc, in his kind Vietnamese accent, call me to docility, call me to be taught.
The next day I woke up and snuggled on the sofa for my quiet time. I am doing a fabulous devotional called the Miracle Hour and one part for the morning was scripture reflections. I did the old "open the Bible to some random page and see what God wants to tell you," and whoa!
This is what I found You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye. (matthew chapter 7).
I have used this scripture many times to reprimand others for their judgement (see, humility- not my strong suit). I realized that my behavior probably did not encourage kindness on Joe's part. And admittedly, I am older, more in touch with a spiritual life, and a social worker. I know better. Maybe Joe doesn't. And maybe Joe does. But the bottom line is, I must do what I am told (again not my strong suit).
Pope Benedict's homily from Christmas eve is a great template for how and why to be humble. (thanks Fr. Tim for the copy). The Pope talks about how Christ came humbly into the world. He came small, as a child. He came in a manger stall. He comes "asking for our love." I mean, hello?? The savior of the world comes asking for our love?? If Jesus starts His life like this, can I not ask for Joe's love and treat him like I desire his love? Christ's first moments on the earth teach us to be small. Maybe I need to stop acting like big, bad older, wiser, Keri and, like Christ asked for ours, ask for Joe's love?
Now, I won't say that I've had much luck the rest of the week. But I know that for anyone's peace (mine and my husband's especially) I will have to learn to be docile. I'll have let myself be led, by Ross, by teachers, by friends. And oooh how spot on my gut reaction was in Mass on New Years Day. Keri being led- um... it's going to be a bumpy ride. But I'm willing to try...check back with me in a year :)