One of the lessons I have learned about contemplation, after being in the Lay Cistercian way of life for a few years, is hospitality. Contemplation, in its pure form, is being in the presence of God without all the human gadgets to distracts you (words, thoughts, petitions, blessings). All just jus. I have not made it there, yet, but I have come close. Hospitality is the openness to seeing and meeting Christ in all you encounter. That I also have not done very well. I can treat those who like me well, or those whom I see as Mother Theresa, but those who act like Lucretia Borgia, wanting to poison me, I tend to shun. It is no fun to meet people who ridicule my Cistercian spirituality, casting disparaging remarks about my motives as being self-serving rather than what I hope they would be, asking for mercy from God on me, a sinner.
Two days ago, I sent Emails to over fifty people to thank them for helping me in my journey to become more like Christ, making my Final Promises as a Lay Cistercian. I sent them a small token of my appreciation in the form of a PDF book I wrote. The response, although not entirely unexpected, made me think of my own hospitality in sending and receiving Emails. Not one person Emailed me back to thank me for my PDF. Here are some of my thoughts about Phil 2:5, my Lectio Divina for yesterday on how I can be more sensitive and hospitable to others, Email or not.
No matter what other people do, I must make sure I thank them for Emails they sent to me, even if they don’t ask a questions or want my help. People I answer, even if it to only acknowledge I received it.
For those Emails that solicit money, advertize, or are robo Emails, I don’t answer them.
I wonder what God thinks when he receives a spiritual Email from me, as in, help me become more merciful? Does he answer these petitions? How about, Lord help me win the Lottery and I will give you half? God doesn’t need my Email or any contemplation, which is why, in my human’s mind’s eye, I see myself sitting on a park bench in Winter, waiting for God to come to sit with me. To think he will come, just because I asked him is presumptious of me and borders on pride.
I need to do a better job of being aware that God does not need me, I need Him. God doesn’t answer his Emails either.