I shared a version of this story in 2011, but, like any good story, it is worth repeating.
Some years ago, as I prepared to go on my annual retreat, I looked forward to some quality bonding with nature. I could not wait to breathe in the blue sky, green grass and various old-growth trees on the Sisters of Christian Charity’s motherhouse property in New Jersey. As I checked into my room in the retreat center, I discovered – to my chagrin – that my room was located in a wing that faced the rest of the building. The view that I so longed for was not going to be found at my window. What was my reaction? Complain. Complain. Complain and then growl, all directed at my Beloved.
I “heard” Him giggle at me as I prayed and complained about this issue. After several days, I “heard” Him say to me, “Are you done yet, little girl?” I sheepishly said, “Yes!” He responded, “What do you see?” So I began a laundry list of what I could see: bricks, cement, windows, window shades, lights on and off within the other rooms, and the list went on and on as I rolled my eyes. Every time I complained, I was reminded, “What do you see?” This went on for three days! I often left my bedroom to pray outside or in chapel. Three days later, I gasped as I learned the lesson!
I FINALLY saw what I craved. It was on the surface of each window. You see, the reflection fully revealed the green grass, blue sky and various trees that grew on the property. It was in front of me all the time but I couldn’t see it! I didn’t look for the deeper reality, just what was most apparent. I needed to accept the grace my Beloved was giving to me.
I could not help of thinking of this as I came upon a daily reflection on the Regnum Christi website by Father Walter Schu, LC. He explained that the Kingdom of God that Christ preached was radically different from what people had ever heard about before. His preaching contained “a charity that must extend to loving one’s very enemies. It is new in the intentions which must motivate our actions. It is new in the way we are to pray to our Father in heaven. And, finally, it is new in the radical demands it places upon us as followers of Christ: We must make this Kingdom our only treasure and seek it above everything else in life!”1
Please read the quote again. When I first read that statement from Father’s reflection, I wondered if I ever heard Christ’s message from that point of view. Hearing about it in this way got me pondering. Yes, I have heard all of this in one way or another, but has the knowledge of the Kingdom changed my actions or my thought patterns? If not, why not? (I’m thinking I need to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.)
Christ’s Kingdom is a radical call to conversion of heart that is not just a “one and done” action, but a lifestyle. It seems to me this idea was something that was right before me, but I did not see. What about you?
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness