Daily Reading for August 21

There was a time when I would have identified only those who loved me and whom I loved as grace-bearers. They were the ones with whom I felt most “at one.” Our mutual trust, our mutual giving and concern, caring and compassion were, I thought, intimations of God’s outgoing love for us. We were filled by God, uplifted by God, and we knew we belonged to God.

Finally I came to perceive that even those who would put me down, who were set against me (wanted my job, wished me to fail, or whatever) in some curious way were also revealing something of God’s Spirit to me. God wanted me to see him in those flawed relationships as well as in the “comfortable” ones. I came to see, for example, that the arrogance I detected in someone set against me existed in some measure in me as well: “Who does he think he is?” Well, who do I think I am? In an increasing number of relationships I considered broken or antagonistic, it was clear that someone or something was trying to reveal some truth about my own nature.

Who was that Spirit? My dear friend, the late Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, Humberto Medeiros, used to say, “Jesus comes into my office every day in each person who comes to see me. Sometimes he comes in deep disguise.” We can usually unmask him if we wait and do not panic or hit back, if we pray for the discerning eye of faith and then look at ourselves again. God’s love comes through every kind of human relationship. God’s creation is permeated with grace. Keep your eye open to see it. Watch. Pay attention.

From Grace in All Things by John B. Coburn (Cambridge, Mass.: Cowley Publications, 1995).

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