On the Stubbing of Toes

Dispatches from Fr. Charitas

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Jesus walkingHe walked for miles and for days along stony roads and He did so wearing sandals.  I assume that some days the roads were dusty and other days the roads were muddy.  I can’t imagine the number of miles He walked.  As He walked, He taught His disciples, answering their questions and asking them questions in return.  Some days the wind kicked up the dust; some days the rain left Him drenched.  And I wonder … what did Christ say whenever He stubbed His toe?

I think He might have blurted out, “Ouch!”  Possibly He cried our, “Curse you, you troublesome stone!”  But I doubt He reacted with the same interjections of pain that I sometimes use before I have given thought to the words that fly.  I know … such a silly consideration … yet it might illustrate an aspect of spiritual maturation.  That aspect?  The Habituation of the Holy.

I believe in daily devotional practice.  Daily reading of scripture.  Daily contemplation of truth. Daily prayers with words and daily prayers without words.  Daily acts of service and daily moments of confession.  All in a lifelong process of translating holy practice into holy nature.  After these many years of daily devotional practice, much of the Christian Way has moved from something outside of me to something within me.  Many of the qualities of Christ’s personhood have in some faint measure become qualities instilled into my own life.  And I have noticed that in a few certain, limited ways, what once took intentional and self-conscious effort have now become reflex and instinct for me.  Oh, it is but a few ways but I pray as time goes by, more will become manifest.

Like you and I believe all other human soul, we react when we ought to respond.  Certain words, certain actions, certain attitudes, certain experiences still trigger a hurtful reaction, a lashing out, a belittling, a defensiveness, a flash of free-floating anger and anxiety.  It is a human thing, this instinct to emotionally survive in the face of threats, real and imagined, but it is a human thing that is need of the transforming grace of the Holy.  To be angry but not hostile; to be frightened but not paralyzed with fear; to be sensitive to others but not offended and demoralized; to seek justice but not to be vengeful.

When I stub my toe I sometimes let out an expletive but not as often as once I did.  More and more I respond, “Lord, have mercy on me, my toe, and this stone with which I am having a most difficult encounter!”  Well … not really … usually I say, “Lord, that hurt!”  And the Lord answers, “I know it does.”

In Christ’s Service always,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz




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