waiting for the master

This is a story I wrote many, many blogs ago but I think it needs repeating.

Imagine yourself seated on a park bench in the dead of
winter. Jesus has told you that He will be passing by the
bench sometime soon. You seat yourself and look down
the path, straining to see Christ as he comes around the
bend of the trees. You don’t know what he looks like,
but you have an invitation to meet with him today, and
all your senses are at their peak. You don’t want to miss
The first person to come to the trees is an old woman
pushing a cart full of what looks like bottles and rags.
You smile as she passes and wishes her a good day. She
turns back to you and asks if you have a bottle of water.
She says she has not had water in two days. You only
have half a bottle of water left, but you give it to her,
asking her to excuse your germs. She trudges away,
You look up, and there is what looks like a teenager. He
asks if he can sit on the bench with you. You do not
know him and are reluctant to let him sit down but he
has only a thin T-shirt, and it is very cold outside.
“Thanks,” he says. He talks about how he is homeless,
and the Shelter kicks them out at 7:00 a.m. and he has
no place to go. Again, you look to the pathway straining
to see if Christ is coming. No Christ. The teenager says
he is twenty-seven years old and out of a job with no
family and nowhere to go. You get out your cell phone
and call the local Catholic Charities and speak to
someone you know about helping the young man. You
help out there once a month with packing food for the
homeless, so you are familiar with their services. It
happens that the City has a long-term shelter for people
who need job skills and a safe place to stay until they
get a job. You give him the directions to the shelter,
about eight blocks away. He hugs you and trudges
It is going on two hours now, and no Jesus. A dog
comes up to you, a Weimaraner, tail wagging, happy to
see you. “Hey girl,” you say. “Where is your Master?”
She sits down and offers you one of her paws to shake.
Friendly dog, you think, but who could be its owner?
It is going on three hours now, and it seems to be
getting colder. Just you and the dog are there, which
you have named Michele. Just as you wonder once
more if you have been stood up and inconvenienced,
you notice an older man approach. He has a long, gray
beard, somewhat matted together, and uses a cane to
help him wobble down the path. His clothes are neat but
certainly well worn. His face has a gnarly look about
him as if he had weathered many hardships and they
had taken their toll. He asked if he could sit down since
he was tired. You say, “Of course, I am just waiting for
a friend to come by here.” “You look cold,” he says.
“Here, take this scarf that my mother knit for me, it will
keep you warm.” The dog sits next to the man as if he
was its owner. All the while he kept stroking the dog’s
head and petting it on the head. “Oh, by the way,” the
old man says” this is my dog. Thank you for finding it
for me.” Two more hours went by, but you do not
notice because the conversation is so warm and
intimate. You tell the kind gentleman all about your
trials and successes and how you just want to seek God
wherever that might be and whoever it might be. The
gentleman tells you that He must go home to see his
father, to whom he owes everything You think of how
lucky the old man is to have such a loving Father. The
old man gets up and smiles at you. “You are a good
person,” he says, “and I look forward to seeing you
again in the future,” his face just beaming with
kindness. Turning to his dog, he says, “Coming?” The
dog jumped up and down a few times, wagging his tail
fiercely and they both set off trudging slowly away
from the bench.
You look at your clock and see that five hours have
passed but passed so quickly. You are a bit disappointed
that Christ did not stop by. You think maybe you got
the time wrong and leave to go home. As you are going,
you remember you have on you the scarf which the old
man gave you as a gift. You are shocked by what you
see. On the scarf is embroidered your name in the gold
thread. You think to yourself; he said his mother made
it for him. Another thing you noticed. You felt your
heart burning within you as the old man talked to you
on the bench? I wonder you think, …I wonder.
The only prayer you can think of comes into your mind.
Praise to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is
to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen.

In contemplative prayer, one characteristic is that you
must deliberately slow down. Another reaction that I
have found is in thinking that I have to do something
with the time I meditate or it is not productive, I must
fill in the hole of time that I just created with something,
anything. After each of my meditative blogs on
contemplative practices, I recommend that you consider
reading them three times, each time growing deeper in
awareness and time for the Holy Spirit to overshadow
you with grace (energy of God). Another way to say
this is by filling in the holes.

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