© Katy Bell
Notes from The Orchard for August 2019
We have been trolling our way through Leviticus for the last few weeks, the third book of the Old Testament and mainly concerned with the Law, the do’s and don’ts of Judaism particularly in relation to the behaviour of the Levites – the priests of Judaism. It can seem very bleak for the rest of us but when studied carefully it can demonstrate the kindness of God who shows us how to live with each other. When put together with the rest of other biblical texts, the ones dating from the time before Christ and after the time of the Resurrection, we can come close to understanding that we are being gently shown how to become the holy and kind people we were made to be. . . According to St. John’s Gospel (13:34-35) one of the last teachings of Jesus was to ‘love one another as I have loved you. . .’ Have we? Do we?
We have to be taught how to love, how to be kind. When I read or hear of what is so often simply referred to as ‘Man’s inhumanity to Man’ I think of a tiny baby wrapped up and lying peacefully in its mother’s arms. . . I wonder how can it be that such a sweet little person can turn into the sort of teenager who would pick up a little six-year-old stranger and throw him over a balcony just for the hell of it. Then I go on to wonder how the elder boy must have been treated earlier to have not one iota of compassion or trace of imagination to consider doing such a thing. . .
There’s no doubt that if a child or an animal is treated brutally it will either respond the same way or be so terrified it will only want to run away and hide. Most of us are responsible for someone, sometimes in the smallest way, a way which may seem to us totally unimportant. Most people can quickly tell the difference between a false and a real smile. A genuine eye-to-eye smile can brighten a day for someone who looks down in the dumps and a sincere prayer for him or her costs you nothing. I have always felt that God listens with pleasure to such requests and is happy to answer them with a ‘Yes’. Just a simple Dear Lord, please make something lovely happen to that person today will do.
St. Therese of Lisieux said at least once that she really looked forward to meeting those in heaven who might have prayed for her on earth when she was going through a tricky patch and about whom she knew nothing. Incidentally, while you have time on your hands, it is not a bad idea to pray for someone you really dislike – statesman, politician, people who have power to disrupt the lives of others. We could pray that they might, with help from the God for whom nothing is impossible, become kind and loving individuals willing to add something of great value to the world. Here I am not talking of money – loving kindness would be best – on the other hand, if they do have money to spare that can also come in useful!