Is there anyone in the world with whom you would like to change places? A neighbour, a parishioner, someone at school or at work, in another country, in another job?
Is there anyone in the world who would be willing to change places with you? A refugee, an asylum seekers, someone who is homeless, someone in terrible debt?
My guess is that many more people would be willing to take your place than you would choose to change with. What does that suggest? That those of us who can read are already more blessed than those who are blind, have no (chance of) education, and we have people around us who love and support us.
In our parish prayer box each week are the names of people who have asked for prayer, of countries where we know there is suffering (reminding us there is suffering in every country) and of those who have died – we pray for them and their families. Do you feel taken out of yourself when you pray for others?
I used to notice that grownups’ conversations were full of grumbles and criticisms. That’s how it was. They saw so much that was wrong about people and about the world. Then someone would say “We should count our blessings” and they all agreed – but nobody ever did! Having said in detail what was wrong – politicians, gossipers, greedy people, bossy people, other women, other men – they didn’t count the blessings, but only said they should count them.
When I became a teacher and priest I discovered from the youngsters that they did not like adults’ grumpy way of looking at the world. Do we all grow into grumblers and criticisers? Couldn’t we just as easily grow into counters of blessings? Try it, especially in your prayer, thanking God for all the good you see in people, in countries, society, races, the world. In any one day do you count more blessings or grumbles? Are you easy to live with, to work with?
Try the circles of prayer: inner circle, family and friends; outer circle, country and people; outside circle, peoples of the world, especially . . . .
God bless us with the love to love everyone.
(21 May 2016)