Thursday, 21 November 2013

Still thinking...

London Bridge
... about generosity. Almost a year ago I wrote here about praying while walking over London Bridge. I cross the bridge often these days, and did so yesterday on a cold, wet and windy Wednesday lunchtime. I paused as I always try to do if I'm not in a tearing hurry (risking being mistaken for a tourist, though I didn't have a camera!) and looked at the steady flow of the rain-flecked grey-brown water though the arches of the bridge. I thought again about the precious  offerings people have thrown into the river they saw as holy so many centuries ago...

My mind felt muddled and it was hard to pick out anything that felt "good enough" for me to offer God in gratitude - was this humility? Timidity? Or a reluctance to let go... and what's that about? In the end I simply said the Suscipe prayer: "Take and receive... Everything is Yours, do with it what You will. Give me only Your love and Your grace."  Sometimes - often - it feels a scary prayer; at other times it feels comforting to hand the whole sorry muddle over to God: "You sort it. Please." I suppose how I feel about the prayer depends on how I'm feeling about God. 

And then... The Gospel at Mass was the parable of the talents. It struck me that the man who hides his pound away and takes no risks with it does so not out of greed or laziness, but out of fear: fear of a harsh lord who will punish him if (when!) it all goes pear-shaped. So, before I think about what I'm doing, or might do (and those are questions much on my mind right now) with what I've been given, I need to consider what kind of Giver I believe in. And I mean believe in, not just have thoughts about.  How can I find the grace to be generous - how can I even ask for it - if I don't trust in a generous God?

The parable is set in the context of expectation of the Kingdom. So, Whose Kingdom are you longing, praying, waiting for? Whose Kingdom are you helping to build?

As Gerard Hughes wrote (I think it's in God of Surprises):

Invariably we create a God in our own image.
Because we do not love him very much, we are led to think he does not love us much.
Because we do not worry much about him, we imagine that he does not worry very much about us.
Because we are not very happy with him, we conclude that he is not very happy with us.

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