Friday, October 23, 2015

I Am Sad For You

I wanted to create a title for this post which used the word “pity,” because that is the word which came into my mind this morning at the men’s Bible Study group.  I wanted to say:  “I pity you!”  But I didn’t.  The discussion this week continued on the Gospel of John, and reached Chapter 4, and the story of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well.  At the end of the discussion she states that she knows a Messiah is coming, and Jesus responds:  “I am He.”
The guys around the table described that as a “God moment.”  The woman knew then, right then, that she was in the presence of God.  And then the study-group leader asked:  “When was the last time you had a ‘God moment’?”  And under my breath I answered:  “Last night at the adoration chapel --- He was there with me.”  The guys, however, struggled to remember when they last --- if ever --- felt in the presence of God.  And so I prayed: “Lord, what would You have me say now?”  But no words came to me.  What came instead was a deep pity for these good men.
How blessed I am to see and receive my God each day, to be able to come into His presence, where He waits.  He waits for me.  Knowing I am in the presence of God is a most awesome thing.  And having these others say: “I wonder what that would feel like” brings on a sadness I almost can’t describe. I wished -- I prayed – that some mystical words would come to me, and that they would suddenly see the light.  But through my sadness I knew, I am not He.  He is the changer of hearts; not me.  And for those men, perhaps in His time, in His way, they will come to know the “God moments” that I know and feel each day.  Meanwhile, in some way, I think I shall remember this time with a sadness.  They are children He loves, who don’t really know Him.
I don’t attend the Protestant men’s Bible Study Group with any thoughts of conversions.  That is God’s to do, if He so wills.  I attend so that through study of His words I might “put on the mind of Christ.”  And I think this morning I did, as I realized that sometimes God can be sad.  But like the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, His sadness is based on love, an unrequited love.  “How I wished you loved me --- and knew me.”
And then I realized one more thing:  I am called to put on the mind of Christ, even as I perceived it from that Gospel and men’s discussions.  I am called to love my neighbor, even if he does not love me back, even if he doesn’t know me.  I am called to love, and not count the cost.  And sometimes this might seem a sad and lonely thing.  But I remember this is how He felt, and as I receive Him in Holy Communion or spend time with Him in the adoration chapel, He is with me.  I am not alone.  We are about this task of loving together.  It is a “God moment” I wish all people had.
But regarding the men of the Bible Study group and my feelings toward them, I was reminded of other words which I recently discovered:
It is a great blessing when we are able to forgive ourselves,
for not accomplishing that which it is God’s to do.
I pray for such a blessing, that perhaps it might relieve my sadness.


  1. What beautiful thoughts about the joy we find in the presence of God. May God gift these good men with an awareness of their God moments. They do have them, but they are blind to them. Perhaps since that conversation, they may be alert enough to recognize God at work in their lives. I pray that will happen.

    I love the final quotation you recently discovered.

  2. I am sure you are right, Maryellen. I am sure we all have blessings, big and small, when we so easily let pass by. On the way to mass this morning there was a huge, beautiful moon in the sky, in front of me, in my sight all the way to the church. And then on the way home afterwards, the sky was alight with bright red clouds as the sun peeked over the horizon. Little blessings, which we can so easily take for granted.