man sat at the entrance to a town. Passersby would often ask him questions.
One day a stranger asked him, "What are the people in this town
like?" "What kind of people were there in the town that
you came from?" asked the old man in reply. "In the town
I just came from," answered the stranger, "the people were
kind, generous and honest; they were wonderful people!" "You
will also find that the people in this town are wonderful," said
the old man.
few hours later another stranger approached the old man and also asked,
"What are the people in this town like?" "What kind
of people were there in the town that you came from?" asked the
old man. "In the town I just came from," answered the stranger,
"the people were cheats and robbers, they were terrible people:
"You will also find that the people in this town are terrible,"
said the old man.
see with the eyes of our hearts. If there is love in our hearts we
will see love. If there is hatred and hurt in our hearts we will also
see hatred and hurt. Unfortunately, these patterns can be passed on
from generation to gen eration. We do to others what was done to us
by people who had it done to them. It is a well know fact that those
who have been abused, physically, psychologically or sexually by their
parents are the most likely to abuse their own children.
is aware of the harsh realities of the world when he talks in today's
gospel about love and peace and about not having fear or trouble in
our hearts. "If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my
Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with
him." To love God is first of all to accept being loved by Him.
When we accept this love we become more free from fear and trouble.
Being more free from fear we become more free from compulsion and
our way of seeing others begins to change. When our way of seeing
changes our behavior also begins to change.
truths have been brought home to me in the sharings of people who
practice meditation. In meditation one tries to be still with reality
and not be frantically trying to change it. One woman who had been
meditating for some time said "I have always had difficulty with
being told that I should see Christ in my neighbor. My neighbor throws
garbage into my garden, causes endless trouble in our community and
curses me using the vilest language. Christ would never do that! I
think that what is asked of us is not so much to see Christ in our
neighbor as to see our neighbor with the eyes of Christ. If Christ
were in my position he would say. 'If this person is giving out so
much poison the poor creature must be full of poison. That poison
came from her suffering. She must have suffered so much to be made
into a person like that.' While her behavior still hurts me if I can
see her with the compassionate eyes of Christ, I will not condemn
her or let her take away the joy of my life."
we are still with the Spirit of God dwelling within us our behavior
will begin to change of its own accord. There was one woman who was
a walking library of novenas. She had at least one for every day of
the week and one for almost every kind of predicament. She had St.
Jude as the final elixir when nobody else could solve the problem!
One day, after about a year of meditation she realized that she had
said no novena for two days. What had happened, I think, was that
as she became internally aware that there was a loving God within,
she was no longer compulsively trying to control and manipulate God
through her novenas.
who are trying to cope with drug dependence are now turning to meditation.
This will not be of much value if it is tried as an effort to get
cured, a technique to change ones external behavior. But if it becomes
a way of cleansing the eyes of the heart, a way of being with the
reality of oneself, it becomes a way of experiencing oneself as one
who is loved by a loving Father God even if one's life got out of
hand. Soon this awareness will lead to acceptance of self, of seeing
oneself in an new way and this will help towards different behavior.