There is an appointed time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Have you, with increasingly regularity, been amazed at the passage of time, saying, “It was just yesterday…”? Do you sometimes long for the days when you were younger, full of plans and having the energy to bring them into reality? On the other hand, as the years go by, are you less willing to predict the outcome of things and not so insistent on how things should go as you were in former idealistic, somewhat less realistic days? There is something peaceful and soothing to the human spirit when we come to the point of surrendering our certainty that we know what and exactly how things should happen. Take, for example, the incident of the multiplication of the loaves. Who could have imagined what would happened to five loaves and a couple of fish? The disciples were certain that was not enough to feed the crowd. In similar circumstances, underachievers might give up while overachievers might run to the nearest fast-food restaurant. But the disciples, baffled, simply did what they could at the moment—obey Jesus and distribute what they had. When they saw the results, they were stupefied. No doubt the food for their hungry bodies became irrelevant in the face of having their spirits so suddenly and fully replenished. Is this what the passage of time can teach us about our approach to tasks: neither to give up nor think we have to take charge of events? Rather, how much easier—and wiser—to do the best we can, letting go of the results. The bonus comes, of course, when we discover that, through us, God can do a better job than we could on our own!
Jesus, teach us how to let go when it is time to do so!
—Sister Mary E. Penrose
|Sister Mary E Penrose is a Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. She edits readings for the liturgical Hours and writes reflections for the Community. And she is a tutor for the African Sisters attending The College of St. Scholastica. She was editor of a journal, Spirit & Life, for 18 years.|