February 10, 2012
Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin
Ahijah took off his new cloak, tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam: “Take ten pieces for yourself; the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s grasp and will give you ten of the tribes. One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant, and of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’” (1 Kings 11:30-32)
“The people heard not my voice, and Israel obeyed me not; so I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts; they walked according to their own counsels.” (Psalms 81:12-13)
(Jesus) put his put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. (Mark 7:33-35)
Lord, let me be open to your Light.
A good friend and I recently spent a weekend at the Benedictine monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania. We each had a “hermitage” of our own in the nearby woods; hers, pictured here under “Listening Point,” was named for St. Scholastica, whose feast day we celebrate today. The place is known among the Benedictines as “Stilts.”
Our first night there, my friend and I talked at “Stilts” until about 10 p.m., then decided to call it a night. I said goodnight, picked up my flashlight, and went down the stairs. After about fifteen steps, I had no idea where I was. The woods were dark, and the gravel trail didn’t seem as well marked as it had at dusk. I took a few more steps, and became even more disoriented. Fortunately, my friend still had her bedroom light on, so back I went to Stilts. The two of us walked out on her balcony. “There,” she said, pointing, “you can see your place from here. You left the porch light on, remember.” “I know,” I said. “I can see it. I just don’t know how to get there.”
We explored all the options we could think of: I could sleep on the couch at Stilts. But it wasn’t built for someone who’s six feet tall. She could walk back with me. But what good would both of us being lost in the woods do? Finally, after about ten minutes, we remembered the Benedictines had left flashlights in both hermitages. My friend had a larger one. We walked outside together, me carrying the big flashlight, her a smaller one. When we got to the first bend in the trail, about ten steps beyond where I’d gone, the way to my hermitage was clear.
The next morning, I counted the steps between the hermitages: fewer than 150. And yet, without a bright light, I was lost. It made me think just how easy it is for us all to get lost when we choose not to follow God’s light… and how much help a friend can be in getting back on the right path.
Is God’s desire for you unclear in some way? Ask your spiritual director or a trusted friend for help in shining some light on your situation.