Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see Godde.
Today, I am reminded that I am called to holiness. Strangely, this brings back a time when I felt most unholy.
I belonged to a learning community in which two members disrupted and undermined the group process. This went on for several years and I had to deal with it. I did not find the task easy.
In those days, our village had a weekly mass every Tuesday evening. Three or four of us usually attended, and a few times we were only one or two. It often felt like a private mass, something between Godde, the priest, and us.
The new colorful window behind the altar had not been donated yet. There was just a plain white window through which the light shone some months of the year. I would listen to the mass while staring at the window, so white, so pure, so unlike me. As I stood in front of the altar, it was as if I held a plate of steaming manure in my hands — the only gift my heart could bring. This tormented me.
I had a spiritual director, then, a religious sister by the wonderful name of Marie-Baptiste. We met once a week, a time which I had to steal from an already crowded time schedule. She liked to tell me, Make time to have a good time. I finally came to her, shamefaced, with the story of my grim weekly offering to Godde.
But, Godde turns into good all that is brought to Her, Sr. Marie-Baptiste pointed out.
Oh, yes. Of course.
For weeks then, for months even, I took along my steaming platter and presented it with an aching heart. Did this solve my problem? Not really. Did it make me a better person? I cannot say this. Still, it helped me finish my course, in my own time, in my own way. To this day, I still do not quite understand why all this had to happen the way it did.
Years passed and I forgot about those days until not long ago. Once again, I found myself in a situation which did not bring out the good in me. I was reactive, rather than active or pro-active. I felt caught in a painful set-up, with circumstances stuck in an unhealthy pattern. I stirred and I fretted and I kicked and I bucked — to no avail.
I thought of creating an ‘Altar of Grievances’ and of tying little colorful bows to it, for each little pain, frustration, or silly insult. Instead, when writing my review of the day, along with my many reasons to be grateful, I also jot down my irritations, those times when I do not feel proud of myself and need to ask for help. Suddenly, I am no longer alone with my ‘unlikableness’.
It is not easy to be clean of heart. I am often in need of a new one. To clean it, I need to bring out into the air all that soils it. Godde’s love cleans everything and makes it all better; maybe not the way I would do it, were I in control. But my sorry heart stands still in front of Godde and takes in the love She showers upon it.
Art: Deliberation, Mario S. Nevado, Spanish Illustrator, found here