Accepting The Gifts That Are Given

On the seventh day God rested, says the Book of Genesis. Well, after twelve days of walking, today is a rest day in Burgos. It feels amazingly good to have a whole day to walk around in flip-flops and not put my hiking shoes on. (I did have to buy a pair of flip-flops, since one of my sandals fell off my pack the other day without my noticing it.)

The first thing I did after breakfast this morning was walk to the Cathedral. Although I expected to attend a Spanish language Mass, I wandered into a side chapel where an English language Mass had just started for a tour group, celebrated by the priest accompanying the group. While the Catholic Mass can always be appreciated regardless of the language in which it is celebrated, it was good to be able to comprehend the readings and sermon. An unexpected gift.

Referring to Jonah’s complaints to God in the first Mass reading, the priest spoke of our tendency to want everything to go our way, and to complain as soon as things don’t. But, he reminded, it is all gift. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t. But we need to learn to rejoice at whatever the gift is that we receive.

I don’t know if the priest is a Jesuit, but his words were a good reminder of the Ignatian Principle and Foundation, and its message that everything – whether we label it pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad – can lead to a deepening of our lives with God.

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