'Facing the truth'

Saturday Reflection

28th November 2020

'all the preparations?'

39 She (Martha) had a sister called Mary,
   who sat at the Lord's feet
   listening to what he said.
40 But Martha was distracted
   by all the preparations
   that had to be made.

.....Luke 10:39,40a

Carlo Carretto (1910-1988)
was an Italian religious author
and one of the Catholic community
of the Little Brothers of Jesus.

He wrote a fascinating book,
'Letters from the Desert'
in which he recounts a life changing
encounter with the Lord.

   'Come with me
said Jesus,
   'It's not your deeds I want;
   I want your prayer and love.'

My reaction to reading this was mixed.
Most of us are busy doing things,
what would happen to our work,
our families, if we weren't there?

And doesn't Jesus show
the importance of practical caring
for others, in that picture of people
sharing the kingdom,
because he praised those who did.

'I was hungry
 and you gave me
 something to eat
 you clothed me,
 you looked after me
 when I was sick,
 you visited me
 when I was in prison.'

..... (Matthew 25:35).

But on reflection
there is another side to this.
I don't think that what we do
isn't important and I don't think
Jesus does either.
Our work isn't being discounted,
but sometimes we hide behind
what we do.

We use our work
as a smoke-screen
to hide the reality
of what is underneath.

We hide from ourselves;
we'd rather not confront
the reality;
rather not know.
We use our work
to avoid facing
what God really wants of us.

It can be helpful
to put that verse above,
from Matthew,
alongside Jesus'
searching questioning
of Peter in John 21.
He says:

'Simon son of John,
 do you love me'
'Do you love me?'
'Do you love me?'


Questions as painful
as a knife wound,
cutting deep.

Jesus led Peter to face
who he really was,
not who he would like to be.
Jesus wanted Peter's love,
not just his words
or his work;
and Peter needed to see
there could be no substitute.

It can hurt to strip away
the activities
and come to terms
with what is left;
yet we need to do it.

Sometimes we need to take time out,
to re-connect with God,
realign our priorities;
and realise that our
characters rest on Jesus,
not on work,
however praiseworthy
that work is.

That's why some people
have problems adjusting
after they retire -
without the work role
there is nothing left.

I've heard many lovely,
humble Christians say,
   'I wish I'd done more
   in my Christian life,
   I've never really worked
   for God,
   all I've ever done is pray.'

I think they will have
a great surprise in store
for when they meet the Lord
face to face;
   'Well done,
    my true and faithful servant.'
Is a phrase that comes to mind.

So this Advent
let us make an effort to
take extra time out
just to be with God.

To offer him our love,
prayer and praise -
the work will still be
waiting for us
when we get back to it,
refreshed and energised.