If someone suggested we should base our lives on the adage, “Blessed are those who do it the easier way,” we might smile indulgently and give the idea tacit consent. But I wager most of us would harbor some skepticism and not really believe it a very practical way of life. Somehow or other we feel life must be hard, and the harder it is the more real and worthwhile it is. Further, if anyone else actually followed the adage as a way of life, we might be tempted to label such people as “lazy,” or “shiftless,” or even “eccentric” and out of touch with reality. Snoopy, in one of Schulz’s cartoons, found it necessary to advise Woodstock, “Maybe you shouldn’t try to sing at all. If you get too good, they’ll throw you in a cage!” There is a little of the “doubting Thomas” in all of us. To sing one’s way through life is too much for us. We want to see concrete evidence of something constructively and tangible done; we want to put our hands to the wheel of our lives and run it ourselves; we want to touch the results of our work. It is true there are some corners of our lives that would never be known to us except through laborious effort and suffering. Suffering can test our mettle. But in the task of devout living, of living with spirit and life, Jesus still says to us, “Blessed are those who have not seen and believed.” Our genuine worth may be found in a simple trust and belief that God cares for us in the ordinary events of our lives—if we but relax and enjoy them. Our greatest test may come in being aware of God’s creative presence in the simplest things of life—a small piece of bread or a momentary smile from a friend. Try it. It may be harder than you think.
—Mary E. Penrose, OSB
|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.|