By Lynne Keating
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Recently, the state of the world has been a source of great concern to me: the pandemic, tumultuous weather, economic trembling, and cultural unrest. I often feel that my prayers might be inadequate, weak, or even missing the mark; I wonder if there isn’t something more I should be doing.
I was having one such hand-wringing conversation with the Lord recently while driving. This day, concerned by something in the news, I was feeling particularly anxious.
“I feel so helpless, Lord,” I groaned. “What effect could my selfish prayers have on the world? I am too little, too insignificant to make any difference at all! And please don’t give me that ‘pebble making ripples in a pond’ metaphor!”
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Despondent, I glanced in my rearview mirror. The guy behind me was driving close enough to let me know that he wished I’d ignore the speed limit – not threatening, just sort of suggesting. Just then, my section of road dipped down a bit so that in my rearview mirror, I could see the long stream of cars behind me spaced evenly and safely apart. Not a hint of impatience or aggressiveness. They had no choice; we were on a single-lane road, and I happened, quite accidentally, to be in the lead.
“You see?” The words surprised me as they drifted gently through my mind. “If YOU do the right thing, you CAN make a difference!”
Moving Under the Radar
In today’s readings, we find two accounts of rather poor, seemingly insignificant women whose actions, at first glance, appear meager and hardly worthy of attention. But both trusted in the promises of God rather than their sparse means or abilities or attributes. Their actions glorified God and not themselves. The Scriptures encourage us to follow their lead and not the example portrayed by hypocritical actions of the self-impressed.
The Old and New Testaments are filled with similar accounts of courageous women who, despite their social invisibility, became powerful agents of change and moved the world in the direction of God. There was the young Hebrew girl who allowed herself to become the mother of the Messiah, the woman who made her way through the crowds to touch the hem of Jesus, and the three women who walked right past armed soldiers to first enter the empty tomb on Easter Morning. There are many more.
They changed the course of salvation history. If we can follow in the footsteps of these hidden heroes, we too can become powerful agents of change –- precious and priceless in the eyes of God.
Perhaps the words of Saint Clare of Assisi can help us along this path:
“Go forth in peace, dear sister, for you have followed the good road.
Go forth without fear, for He who created you has made you holy.
He has always protected you and loves you!”
Grant me, O Lord, both peace and courage. Help me to follow the good road without fear.
Call to Action
Starting today, do the right thing — even (and especially) — when no one is looking.
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