I Choose to be a Window.
“My soul magnifies the Lord.” These words of Mary capture her role as the most trusting and faithful of Jesus’ followers. Mary magnifies. I only hope to show the Lord as clearly as I can and so I choose to be a window.
To be a window for Christ means having the freedom to allow Christ to be visible through me. Christ will be my actions and my words. I trust the Holy Spirit to shine through me.
Paul addresses the Corinthians in this way: “…and it is plain that you are a letter from Christ, entrusted to our care, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on stone tablets but on the tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence we have through Christ in facing God; it is not that we are so competent that we can claim any credit for ourselves; all our competence comes from God.” That gift of competence instils confidence in me; while my heart holds the eternal piece of the wisdom granted by God.
The author John O’Donohue describes what is eternal, and its potential. It is not being a robot that is programmed to recite a message, or carry out an action.
“Behind the veneer of our external lives the eternal is at work. The eternal is an unseen and ancient presence. In and through the daily round of work, confusion, fear and hope it is quietly creative. The eternal is patient and subtle; its rhythms are oblique and shy. Each human is a crest of threshold in which the temporal grounds in the eternal and through which the eternal suffuses the temporal. Thus, there is a secret immensity in every life.
There is a depth and an outreach in us that we seldom glimpse. In its subtle wisdom the eternal carefully designs a unique destiny for each person. To be born is to be chosen. You have a task of creativity to realize here that no one else can accomplish. If someone else could bring this to birth, they would be in your place and you would never have been sent here. Who you are, where you are, your time, your mind, your family and friends, your limitation and possibility are not accidental.
Even though your life may seem divided and scattered into disparate moments and forms, there is yet a refined and deeper coherence to your life; this is how your destiny is secretly shaped within the creative weave of the eternal. You are an artist of the eternal. The privilege of individuality is the burden and promise of its veiled destiny.”
What a most amazing opportunity – to be an artist of the eternal, through a privilege of individuality. My window allows my share of the eternal to shine through into its own room filled with those I should reach, illuminating and demonstrating God’s creativity in a way that only I can.
My room is the reality of my world that I work and live in – as a husband, father, doctor, specialist, researcher, teacher, residency program director, musician, Catholic lay person in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I am meant to shine, two feet on the ground in a real-life world.
My spiritual director asked me: “Thinking about your being the window -what is the feel of God’s light – power-truth -love (however you would name it) through the window? – How do you recognise it? And what is the contrary feeling?”
So what does God’s light feel like as its shines through? There is a sense of presence. It feels like a warm inner strength that empowers me to feel respect, empathy and gratitude for persons I meet, finding and recognizing the goodness, even when it’s challenging to do so, even when I wish I would find nothing.
It is the wisdom that comes at a time in a meeting when things are looking dead in the water; the relevance of everyone’s insight crystallizes and the wisdom can be articulated. It feels like the power of calming the stormy sea in the midst of a life-threatening emergency in the operating room.
It is hugging back a crying patient hugging me for relieving her pain with three brief injections. It is acknowledging and sharing the joy of the discovery a student makes during her literature search. Although God’s light is usually easily recognized, I have had a friend see it when I couldn’t.
Recognition is realizing things are so right, so clear. The contrary feeling is confusion and anxiety, proceeding with no purpose, no direction, and no leadership. It is lonely. There is no sense of presence.
Mary’s soul magnifies the Lord. I am grateful just to be a window.