14 November, Monday — Enabler or Disabler? Your choice!

                                                                                                             
Monday of Week 33 in Ordinary Time

Apo 1:1-4,2:1-5
Lk 18:35-43

“The people in front scolded him…”

Much has been spoken about the blind man and the extraordinary amount of faith he demonstrated. What I would like to focus on today is the crowd around him. Notice how many were telling him to keep quiet, but once he had the (positive) attention of the Lord, they became supporters. What interesting behaviour! The question we need to ask ourselves is this: are WE enablers or disablers (which the crowd in the Gospel of today were) in the faith journeys of others around us? In fact, let’s go beyond faith journeys and look at the parts we play in the life journeys of those around us?

I have recently returned from a walking pilgrimage on the Camino Ignaciano in Spain and met so many wonderful people… lovely folks who enabled me to experience the growth I did. Without naming them specifically, I wanted to share with you the roles they played.

We benefitted from spiritual direction along with us on this retreat and pilgrimage. My Spiritual Director was always present for me, asking thoughtful and often probing responses to my thoughts. He did not tell me what to think and how to feel. Instead, he listened to me and was, at times, quiet. There were many occasions he encouraged me to sit with certain thoughts and emotions and to listen to what came to me. I was grateful I had such a guide with me.

I mentioned in an earlier reflection how I had (strangely) twisted my knee and was walking through the Camino in pain. While it was largely a silent retreat, I had my fellow pilgrims come to me and tell me they were praying for me. What wonderful encouragement to have others pray for me! These encouragers surrounded me with a spirit of love and support.

I struggled on many portions of the Camino and had helpers along the way. My companions would stop and wait with me, offering to hold my poles as I laced my shoes, drank water or as I took a few minutes to rest in the hope that the pain in my knee would abate. By nature, I find it challenging to be vulnerable. Interestingly, my helpers did nothing to make me feel so. On the last (long) walk, I found it difficult to climb up a steep slope… I was grateful for a (literal) helping hand that pulled me up.

On that same walk, a wonderful couple slowed down to walk with me, seeing how I was struggling. Along the way, the wife (let’s call her LC) sang out loud. I’m sure she did it to encourage me, although she does not recall having done so. She even whipped out her phone to play one of her favourite songs to cheer me on. I was moved by this act of compassion and remember holding back tears of gratitude.

The Camino, to me, is a microcosm of life, and I am blessed to have met all these wonderful folks whom I now call my friends. As we return to our daily lives, we will continue to journey together.

The question is: who do we choose to be in our lives to those around us? Do we choose to be enablers or disablers?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Help us, Father, to be mindful of who we are to others around us. Help us to live our identities of Your children and help us be open to Your Spirit to guide us.

Thanksgiving: Thank You for showing us the way to live, Jesus. 

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