Monday of Week 18 in Ordinary Time
“Man of little faith…why did you doubt?”
I find it sad how some people allow negativity to become a pervasive part of their psyche, and live in a constant spiral of issues and seemingly insurmountable challenges. As a result, they end up not making proper decisions and continue to languish in their situations, drifting along in life without any sort of plan or ambition.
Helping them is a long-drawn and emotionally-draining process. Simply because you cannot be tough with such people as they are already suffering inside. So you have to take a soft approach to communicating the hard lessons they need to learn. And endure. It certainly isn’t a case of telling it as it is to those whose egos are already battered, or worse still, if they are already in a depressive state.
And though the solutions or courses of action seem to be plain as day, it requires a few leaps of faith for these wounded souls to even trust those who simply refuse to succumb to painting a rosy picture of the situation; or say the nice things that they want to hear just so the downtrodden can feel better.
I have been journeying with a friend for a a few years and she has, unfortunately, spiralled down into an abyss where even I am no longer trusted. I have been ‘accused’ of withholding information/knowledge about her situation and not being truthful. All because I have been telling it like it is to her, simply based on some the few conversations and text messages we have had over the years. Despite the fact that I have introduced three different priests to her, and encouraged her to focus on the Lord and not on ‘people around her’, I have decided to simply acknowledge her on the rare occasion she sends me a text by saying ‘Praise the Lord, I continue to pray for you.’ I basically have had enough of my own words of advice being thrown back at me in a manner that may end up implicating me should anything untoward happen.
A friend of mine had, a few months ago, advised that this was the best route to take because I wasn’t a trained counsellor and should be extremely careful of what I say to this friend. I certainly don’t want to say anything that will cause her to harm herself in any way. But as a concerned fellow Catholic, what else can I do? I can only pray for her deliverance from this abyss of depression and almost delusional behaviour.
In today’s gospel, Jesus seems to rebuke Peter. I can almost hear the curtness in his response. Yet, I also imagine Jesus saying the words lovingly, reassuringly. Then I begin to understand how someone could misinterpret words of advice that are uttered to them. It all goes back to the state of mind of the one receiving the message. All too often, we take feedback and comments from other ministry members and leaders based on our own coloured perceptions. I would think that in more than a few instances, we end up pre-judging how others view us and therefore being hurt by well-meaning or well-intentioned comments. This is something so fundamental in human dynamics and the cause of many misunderstandings and fallouts.
Brothers and sisters, perhaps we should give others the benefit of the doubt, until they prove us wrong. We should not doubt the motives of others but rather, have faith that God has sent us an angel to counsel, advice and help us see things in another light. Only then can we take the courage to step out of our boats and explore the waters around us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Abba Father, we pray that you give us the heart to always trust in your presence in our lives, in your guidance and in your providence. Nothing can take your love away from us and we walk on in faith that you are ever always by our side.
Thanksgiving: We bow down in gratitude, Lord, for never forsaking us.