Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Negative Cooties

Great readings for Mass today. I'm still amazed at how the readings speak to one another the way they do. And, of course, the challenge in daily prayer is to let those readings not just speak to one another, but to really speak to me!

In the first reading, the people in the desert succomb to what I call "negative cooties." You may call them something else (the AA groups speak of the same phenomenon as "stinking thinking"). I am particularly susceptible to these pessimistic or demoralizing insinuations: "It's not as good as it seems"; "Murphy's Law..."; "what else can go wrong?" You know the routine.

Sister Helena has an unusually strong resistance to this sort of thing, but once in a while she is a carrier, at least for me. And since our rooms are across a very narrow hall from each other, I envision those discouraging thoughts as scurrying across the linoleum into my room like so many roaches. Negative cooties.

The Gospel, on the other hand, offers a completely different picture. If anyone had a right to discouragement, it was the Canaanite woman. Not only had her land been taken over by those people from the first reading (against all their nay-saying expectations), she was a Gentile woman with a troubled girl-child seeking a favor from a Jewish miracle worker who declared that he had only been sent to his own people. But she didn't grovel; didn't moan; didn't whimper.

 It is as if in both readings, God had been saying those words that are emblazoned by the tabernacle in our Pauline chapels: Do not fear; I am with you. In the Invitatory Psalm of the Liturgy of the Hours, God complains, "they do not know my ways." He had offered a message of love that the "princes" of the Twelve Tribes did not seem to notice. The Canaanite, on the other hand (like the lone Caleb in the first reading), responded to that message with a bold faith--the kind of faith that is a response to divine love. And Jesus (against his own human expectations) burst out in delight: "Woman, great is your faith!"

How can my faith delight the Lord today?

3 comments:

Mickey Itchon said...

Catching myself as I slip down a rabbit hole of crisis only to realize that I can sidestep this easily by focusing and allowing God's love to come through the sordid message of the moment. Over the years I realize that this has nothing to do with whether one is a positive thinker or not. Rather, riding theGrace of the moment requires that exercise of faith. "Woman, Great is thy Faith". Time for some Faith Cardio - thanks SrAnn

Mickey Itchon said...

Catching myself as I slip down a rabbit hole of crisis only to realize that I can sidestep this easily by focusing and allowing God's love to come through the sordid message of the moment. Over the years I realize that this has nothing to do with whether one is a positive thinker or not. Rather, riding theGrace of the moment requires that exercise of faith. "Woman, Great is thy Faith". Time for some Faith Cardio - thanks SrAnn

Stormy said...

Wakan Tanka kici un! "May God bless you!",in the Lakota language.