Taking “I wonder…” trips can be fun. They also reveal hidden surprises and evoke creative possibilities. For example, if we say, “I wonder what would happen if the arms race stopped tomorrow?” we might find ourselves shaking with fear or breathing a sigh of relief. Or, there is the possibility we might discover within ourselves that we have personally engaged in a private arms race by building up defenses against others or by striving to get “on top” by cutting others down. The same meanderings could lead us to share with someone else the peace and serenity we have experienced with the Lord in prayer, to initiate a conversation with an enemy and ask them to dinner or an art show.
Another area of wondering could go like this: “I wonder what would happen if I had to face inactivity for the rest of my life?” Would we end up by indulging in frenetic activity for activity’s sake or would it lead us to discover a real calmness and rest in the Lord? Would we start comparing ourselves negatively (“They can do more than I”) or exclaim, “Indeed the Lord’s yoke is sweet and His burden light!”? Such fantasies can lead to an infinite variety of responses; the point being, of course, that they are not meant to remain pure fantasies. However, they are effective only if they bring about a change in the way we live or if they cause us to see how our lives disagree with what we say about ourselves.
“Blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears for they hear” (Mt. 13:16). Or do they? As Christians, who experience much by way of intimacy with Jesus, are we any different from those who have not seen and heard so much? If we really listened and heard what the Lord has to say to us, we would change, we would turn back to Him and give Him a chance to effectively hear us as well! For a first wonder trip, we might try to find out how many creative possibilities can be found in these words of Scripture: “You are God’s cultivation (or, as another translation put it, ‘farm’), His building” (1 Cor. 3:9). “I wonder what kind of a person I’d be like if I were God’s farm…”
—Sister 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.
Read all Sister Mary E.’s reflections.