Wednesday of Week 25 in Ordinary Time
“Take nothing for the journey…”
If not for COVID-19, I would probably be on the Camino Frances now, retracing the steps of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who journey on foot to the town of Santiago de Compostela. I know this because Facebook has been serving up memories of my pilgrimage in 2016. That was probably one of the ‘free-est’ times in my life, communing with others and with God daily, on roads that led us through town after town in Spain.
And while I didn’t really ‘take nothing’ for the journey (I had about 13kg of stuff in my backpack), I certainly had nothing much to think about — no work, no stress, no ‘issues to deal with’ — literally, nothing. When I was on the road towards Santiago, I woke up each day, said my prayers, stretched out and then commenced my walk. No fancy coffee, no checking of emails, no commute to work to deal with. Each day was literally a blank page to fill, with new experiences/people to encounter and to reflect upon. It got me thinking if that is also what Jesus meant when he instructed the apostles to take nothing on their journey. In other words, to not harbour judgement on others they encounter, nor any ill will or preconceived notion/expectations. To just approach every day with ‘nothingness’ in order that they be filled up each day with whatever and whoever they encounter.
At my last session with my spiritual director, he advised me to approach the coming weeks with no expectations, and to just let God allow me to appreciate the situations I would be encountering. I had shared that I was feeling unsettled, with the impact of 3 resignations meaning more time spent covering up gaps in work. In addition, inheriting a team of 3 senior staff who were lacking proper guidance means that I have to devote some time to ‘stabilise that boat’. So each day, I say a prayer while driving to work, asking for the grace to accept what comes my way so that I can lead, guide and direct with care and respect for those around me.
Brothers and sisters, we have all been conditioned to treat those who ‘have more’, or who are ‘in power’ with due reverence and respect. However, we must never disregard those who seemingly have less and yet hold their heads up high. Those who have overcome their own challenges on their own steam, with nothing to rely on except faith — in their own abilities, and in God. Nothing else.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Dear God, never let anything come in our way of getting to know you, and of appreciating your presence in our lives.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us and guides us in our quiet stillness of our dreams, when we have nothing on our minds.