Reflections for Thursday and Friday

Thursday 26th February

Luke 6:37
Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Grant pardon; and you will be pardoned.

“The way I regard those who hurt or annoy me today,
will affect how I experience the world in the future.
In any encounter we have a choice:
We can strengthen our resentment, or, our understanding and empathy;
we can widen the gap between ourselves and others or we can lessen it.”
– Pema Chodron

Which will you and I choose?
If there is one thing our world needs today it is to understand the gift of tolerance.
Today’s reflection from the Buddhist monk, Pema Chodron,
is so important for us to consider and reflect upon:
“The way I regard those who hurt or annoy me today,
will affect how I experience the world in the future….
We can widen the gap between ourselves and others, or we can lessen it.!

It is so easy to judge. It is so easy to condemn. It is so easy to criticise.
It is easy to be so set in our own opinions
that we are not prepared to even consider the views of others.
Lessening the gap between ourselves and those we find difficult and disagree with
does not mean we have to change our mind and agree with them,
but it does mean we have to accept that there are alternative world views to ours.
We can disagree with the views and lifestyles of others
without condemning them as wrong or as bad people.
Jesus did not always agree with or condone the views of others,
but he never lost the capacity to love them and respect them.

There will always be people we disagree with;
there will always be people who hurt or annoy us with the things they do.
But consider the words of Pema Chodron:
The way we respond to them will either widen the gap or lessen it.
Are we prepared to give a little and make the gap a little smaller?

Friday 27th February

Matthew 13:45
The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who on finding one pearl of great value,
went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“Only a few have the capacity to listen; to remain quiet, open and waiting.
Only a few have the capacity to allow another’s words to enter their heart.
In listening such as this,
no word is praised or rebuked; no word is applauded or judged;
a space is simply offered where the words can be present and accepted.
When you discover such a listener, you discover treasure.”
– Simon Parke

Today let us listen attentively to others without praise or rebuke.
What a gift we will give them – a pearl of great price.
About once every other month I go and see my spiritual director
who has a wonderful capacity to simply sit there and listen.
Listen, while I babble on and on about what is happening in my life,
while I let go of all the things that have built up within me;
all the things that have hurt me, all the things that I feel bad about,
all the things I feel angry about, guilty about, sad about, or unsure about.
My spiritual guide just listens and, in listening,
creates a space where all my words seem to find some order and cohesion.
A space in which I can begin to separate the wheat from the chaff.
A space where I can gain some perspective on the things I experience.
A space in which I can smile and laugh at myself.
It is a space of healing and renewal.

True listening is a pearl of great price.
We all need a good listener, and we all need to develop the gift of listening.
Let us thank God for the listeners in our lives,
and pray for the grace to develop and deepen this gift within ourselves.