A brother brings into my room a reproduction of one of the most ancient pictures in the catacombs: a man praying with both hands raised. This gesture comes down to us from the dawn of time, from humankind’s first beginnings. A symbol of expectant waiting. Looking at it, I tell myself: like every Christian, you are first and foremost a man who waits expectantly, and prayer is one of the clearest symbols of this.
I admit that I am guilty, and vile, and worthy of contempt for failing to carry out Christ’s teaching. At the same time, not to justify myself, but simply to explain my lack of consistency, I say: “Look at my life now and compare it to my former life. You will see that I am trying to live out the truth I proclaim. True, I have not fulfilled a fraction of Christ’s will, and I am ashamed of this, but I have failed to fulfill his Word not because I do not wish to, but because I have been unable to. Teach me how to escape from the net of temptations that surrounds me, help me, and I will fulfill Christ’s teachings. Even without help I wish and hope to fulfill them. Attack me, I do this myself, but attach me rather than the path I follow, which I point out to anyone who asks me where I think it lies. If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way simply because I am staggering side to side?
“If it is not the right way, then show me another way. But if I stagger and lose the way, you must help me and keep me on the true path, just as I am ready to support you. Do not mislead me, do not be glad that I have gotten lost, do not gleefully shout, ‘Look at him! He said he was going home, but there he is crawling into a bog!’ No, do not gloat, but give me your help and support. For you are not devils in the swamp, but people like me who are seeking the way home. For I am alone and it cannot be that I wish to go into the swamp. Help me, my heart is breaking in despair that we have all lost our way.”
So this is my attitude to Christ’s teaching. I try to fulfill it with all I’ve got. I not only repent for each failure, but also beg for help in fulfilling it. And I joyfully welcome anyone who, like me, is looking for the path; and I listen to him.
You are in on the deal, and yes, the really big deal. You are all a very small part of a very Big Thing!
Christ shows us the way to life, and those who embark on this way are like a fountain of living water bubbling forth from the earth, which steadily moves in all directions in spite of the obstacles blocking it. One who follows Christ’s way can just as little ask what he must positively do as the spring of water flowing from the earth can ask such a question. It flows, refreshing the soil, the earth, the trees, the birds, the animals, and people. The same is true for the one who genuinely believes in Christ.
The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.
In all things peace of heart, joy, simplicity, and mercy.
Very often a man or a woman who dared to pray alone in a church has been, by their perseverance, a living appeal to others. It only takes one for many to be drawn along in the end.
Anyone who looks only at themselves will inevitably sink into melancholy. Open your eyes to creation all around you, and the shadows already begin to disperse.
Gather everything that happens, trivialities included, without reservation, regret, or nostalgia, in inexhaustible wonder. Step out, forward, one step at a time, from doubt toward faith, not worrying about the impossible ahead. Light fire, even with the thorns that tear you.