In My Father's House

Poems, Prayers, Inspirations, Photos and Musings about life, love and what it means to be a child of the Father

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Giving What You Don't Have and Leading to a Place You've Never Been

A Jesuit brother eloquently preached this morning about the impossiblity of "giving what we do not have and of leading people to a place where we've never been." I realize this more and more the longer I stay in religious life. People come to us for advice on many things: relationships, career path, their struggle with sin and prayer. Often, I find myself unable to respond to their needs as much as I want. I realize that if I don't pray often enough, I cannot tell them how gracious and wonderful our God is. I cannot tell them to forgive their wrongdoers when I haven't made an effort to forgive people closest to me. I cannot lead them to salvation because very often I am the one who needs direction. How can I tell others that this is the way to Heaven, when I have no idea where the hell Heaven is?

I cannot give what I don't have. I cannot lead people to where I've never been.

Yet, there are also events in my life that say that these two statements are not necessarily always true. There had been times when I felt that I had nothing more to give, nothing more to offer yet grace abounded and filled me with blessings untold. Even in my darkest despair, when I considered that I had given all and nothing was left to spare much had been pour out. Georges Bernanos' Diary of a Country Priest describes this mystery as the Grace of the Empty Hands. He says that precisely those people who had none to give, none to offer, they are the ones who give the most because it is God, acting through them, who does the real giving.

There had been occasions when I felt completely lost yet souls found direction through my own emptiness. I remember the time when I suffered a major lost several years ago. Students and teachers thanked me for "guiding them back to God." I could not claim for myself that I did these people good. I can only say that God was using me for His Divine Purpose. The Lost Son, has become a pilgrim guide to equally lost souls. A vessel, to quote Hally Berry's acceptance speech, He used so His blessings may flow.

Empty Hands. Lost Soul. These two realities are what's giving me hope that I need not worry whether I would have something to give or have answers to peoples' questions when I lead them to Christ. It is through the mystery of the Empty Hands and the Lost Pilgrim Guide, that God shows His power to perfection. My only prayer is that God would continue to take away from me anything that would make me feel secure and self-reliant so I can continue to trust that He who "taketh away, giveth anew." He that wounds, binds. He that "leads" astray, guides back home. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Thanks to Erik John for leading me to this reflection.


  • At 6:40 PM, Blogger kangirl said…

    I better thank ErikJ for this too.Something new is bothering me right now though, not about not being able to give, but about a Rage I seem to have lost... My last post in my own blog is of being OK - about work yes. But Just now, I'm really not.

    Did I tell you, that EdSa poem was great? Galing! Penge akong soft copy.

  • At 7:50 AM, Blogger sonoftheprodigal said…

    thank you kang. i hope and pray that you be OK again, especially in the coming days. Good luck on your job with Ehem! program. you are doing a great job.

  • At 9:44 PM, Blogger jaki said…

    thanks for sharing that. it was something i just realized. (too deep to explain...) it's one of those things you know you understand and just cant put it in words. your reflection was great!

  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger Diego said…

    Good day!!! My name is Diego... 14 years old from the Philippines

    I like your blog... I had a wonderful time reading some of your posts...

    I hope you could visit my blog too...

    Good Bye and God Bless!!! :)

  • At 4:06 PM, Blogger sonoftheprodigal said…

    hi jackie! thanks for your comments. yes, i'm coming to CDOC this summer. it's the home of some of the greatest people i know.

  • At 4:07 PM, Blogger sonoftheprodigal said…

    diego. i've been to your blog. i like what i've found out there! good luck on your mission.


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