To be a saint
His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled
and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
A Sufi story tells us that if we wish to be a saint, we need five qualities of children: they do not worry about their daily bread; when they fall sick, they do not complain night and day about their misfortune; whatever food they have, they share; when they quarrel, they do not keep grudges in their hearts, but make up quickly; the slightest threat frightens them and brings tears to their eyes.
Many people say that Christmas is for children. That is understandable as we watch children’s awe, excitement, and joyous giving (as well as delight at receiving). Yet awe, excitement, giving, and delight are also a part of our lives, or should be!
Aren’t these characteristics also the basis of Jesus’ life? Today’s gospel reminds us that Jesus’ heart continually goes out to people. His concern was always rooted in the present moment and the needs of each person in that moment. Since Jesus came to us to teach us how to live, perhaps these selfless qualities are our call – and our joy – during these Advent days.
DAILY PRACTICE: Which of the five qualities of children could you live today? Which could you let grow in your life during Advent, so that, as the New Year begins, the quality is second-nature in you?
ADVENT PRAYER: Inviting God, you call me to be a saint in all the moments of my life. Deepen in me the commitment that Jesus taught and lived: trust, joy, sharing, forgiveness, and empathy.
From: ADVENT 2013. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Promise of Peace. Janet Schaeffler, OP.