24 Nov Little Ways of Loving
by Catherine Doherty
Sometimes the ways of the Lord are strange—strange to every one of us. We are offered the opportunity to preach the Gospel without compromise quietly, hiddenly, unobtrusively, every moment of our lives. Why don’t we catch these moments? Why do we let them go by?
A woman stands waiting for a bus on a cold day. Her face reflects a tragic loneliness so that even the most unobservant can observe it.
Do we move toward her? Do we pass the time of day with her remarking about the weather? Something … anything, that breaks that terrible wall of loneliness that people are surrounded with today.
The people we work with: have we ever really looked at them? Looked with loving eyes? Let’s say, with the eyes of Christ?
What about the little office worker who has such cute ways and who lives alone and doesn’t seem to have many friends in the big city? What about the boss even? Have we ever looked at him without thinking that he is “the boss,” but as a human being who may be lonely, too, or who is carrying on his shoulders the great weight of responsibility?
From the sales person to the cop on the beat and the driver of the bus and those who are on that bus, the waitress or waiter, all those who serve us, all those whom we serve … Do we notice with the eyes of Christ, or do we just pass by indifferent and self-centered? Which is it?
November is a strange month. The Church celebrates the dead and no one knows if they are saints in heaven or still waiting in Purgatory. In the infinite mercy of the Lord, probably Purgatory is short.
The Lord may say, like the woman doing laundry does, “I’ll just pass this piece through the warm water. It isn’t really dirty.”
So the Lord might say the same thing about the dead … our dead. It is good to pray for them, and it is good, too, to rejoice in the mercy of God and think that they are rejoicing before his Face.
That’s what the Church does for the dead. What are we doing for the living? For those who are so alone that they consider themselves the living dead?
In this month of prayer for the dead, let us turn to them and let us ask them to make our stony hearts hearts of fire, hearts of love, hearts of concern for the living.
—Excerpted and adapted from Catherine’s Restoration column, “Where Love Is, God Is,” November 1978.