Today’s reflection was written by Alice Hession, Director of Sponsorship for Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools.
If the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it?…
In today’s first reading, Naaman, the army commander for the king of Aram, refused to do a very ordinary thing. When told by the prophet Elisha to wash in the River Jordan in order for his leprosy to be cured, he refused. He became angry, first of all, because Elisha sent a messenger to give these instructions instead of coming himself. He was also angry because, as he says, “I thought he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the LORD God, and would move his hand over the spot, and thus cure the leprosy.” Instead, he was told to go wash in the river. Naaman expected the extraordinary, but got the ordinary instead.
Most of us are a lot like Naaman when it comes to our relationship with God. We want the extraordinary, the stuff of the saints, and assume our experience is just not spiritual enough. The insight that the Dutch mystics, Theodore Ryken, and the Xaverian Way brings to us is stated in this week’s theme, “The ordinary is the ground where we were first located, where God has known us – and delighted in what we already knew and had…” Like Naaman, we let our bruised ego get in the way of being at rest in the ordinary of God with us, and like Naaman, our hearts come home when we respond to the ordinary presence of God. The challenge for each of us is to truly believe that we are graced.
Recall a specific experience in the past year where you felt God’s presence in an actual, ordinary event. It may be an encounter with another, an experience of laughter, a disappointment, a conversation, or an experience of learning something new. Whatever it is, it should be something real, where you felt the presence of God. Recall the experience in detail, who was involved, what led to the event, the sights and sounds of it, and its effect on you. Spend a few minutes in the awe of experience, its ordinariness and its blessings.
God, You are our ground and our origin. We ask that You give us the grace to accept the “givens” of our life and to face the reality of who we truly are, so that we may return with gratitude to an innocence and nakedness that allows us to see, through new eyes, the incommensurable brightness of your creation. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.