On Friday of this week the Church will celebrate the story of a special friendship: Jesus and Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The two sections in today’s Gospel – the prayer of Jesus and the reminder that when we seek we shall find, and that our knock and will open the door – each is a comforting promise of God’s personal gift of friendship. I’d like to share with you a story of friendship – imaginary but nonetheless one that I trust will touch your heart.
TALE of TWO HORSES
[Author unknown – adapted]
If you listen for my bell, I promise I will listen for yours
Picture if you will that just down the road from our monastery a field with two horses in it. Standing at this distance, each looks like any other horse. But, as you move closer to work in the outdoor garden or perhaps are walking nearby, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down. But, rather, has made a good home for him. This in itself is amazing!
Now stand still. Listen! Really listen! Do you hear the soft tinkle of a bell? When you spot the source of the sound, you see it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her halter is a small bell and couple Christmas “jingle” bells. The “Jingle, Jangle” sound lets her blind friend always know where she is. Now he can follow her and avoid collisions with the fence and small trees and corrals her wandering too far afield.
As you stand in amazement watching these two friends, you’ll see how the blind friend is always checking on the other’s where-abouts. He listens for her bell and then slowly walks forward trusting that his little friend will not lead him astray. When the “faithful bell ringer” returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.
Like the owner of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. God watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little bell ringers – those companions whom God places in our lives for as long as we need them. At other times we are the guide horse, helping others see their way.
Good friends are like this … You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.
~by Sister Roberta Bailey, OSB
This week kindly include in your prayers our community, and our retreat director, Father Patrick Boland, O.S.B. from Subiaco Abbey Arkansas. May God give him the grace to speak the words we need to hear. And, in turn, may we each be open to receive the WORD.
As July comes to a close, following our retreat week, we will be engaged in four days of evaluation and planning for the next few years. Our agenda will include 3rd year assessment of our direction statements – what have we done, what remains, is it still relevant, next steps for us? Throw into the mix a movie, a TED Talk and a community game night along with a couple outside speakers, reports and culminating in proposal of, and commitment to, goals for 2022-23 and beyond
Remember our out-reach project for June and July? Support our friend S. Winny’s project to open a kindergarten and catechetical program in educational “desert” in Tanzania. Refer to our website www.benedictinesistersoffl.org for how you can support this ministry.
God bless you and your families … be safe, stay hydrated, do what you can “climate control” Mother Earth … every effort does count!