Just stepping up and doing the right thing.
Valentine’s Day with cards and roses is fast approaching. They’ll be proclamations of love: undying love, puppy love, romantic love and”so called” love. Here’s a charming story of real love from the Dialogue of Pope St. Gregory the Great:
Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, had been consecrated to God from her earliest years. She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate.
One day she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. As night fell they had supper together. Their spiritual conversation went on and the hour grew late. The holy nun said to her brother: “Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life.” “Sister,” he replied, “what are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell.”
When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated. Sadly he began to complain: “May God forgive you, sister. What have you done?” “Well,” she answered, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery.”
Reluctant as he was to stay of his own will, he remained against his will. So it came about that they stayed awake the whole night, engrossed in their conversation about the spiritual life.
You may wonder why I call this “real love.” I guess it’s because all love worthy of the name is God’s Love. You may think Scholastica was praying for trifles. The story, however, is about what God thinks. Gregory saw it this way: “It is not surprising that she was more effective than he, since as John says, ‘God is love.’ It was absolutely right that she could do more, as she loved more.”
With Abba Father, nothing is too small or trivial. We are His children. It is as though everything that we refer to our Father He receives as a gift that He happily, lovingly, and joyfully, sticks on His heavenly version of the refrigerator. A little soul doesn’t differentiate between great and small. Everything comes from God’s gracious hand.
If I think I have control of the day, I have only to wake up to dash my delusion. Even my dreams are out of control. I lie there thinking, what was that all about? So often the dreamscape is far away from home and the object of the exercise seems to be figuring out how will I ever get back home. There are buses without destination markers, trains that I board only to realize they are not going where I thought. There are people mad at me because I am late or not where they want me to be. And through it all, I’m trying so hard. As anxious as these dreams reveal me to be, they are so much better than those in which I’ve forgotten a #2 pencil with which to take the Regents Exam. That’s a New Yorker’s nightmare!