We have a “full house” for this weekend’s workshop at our small retreat center (which is also our home). It’s always nice to welcome people who are familiar to us, those who come every year to get “recharged” spiritually. It’s so easy to be comfortable with people we know, isn’t it? It’s those who come for the first time that present a challenge. Of course the assumption is that if people are coming for a spiritual purpose they will be easy to assimilate into the energy of the place. Occasionally, however, we are blessed to welcome someone who is “different.” It could be personality quirks or cultural differences – anything that makes us (actually, I should say “me”) hold back until I can assess the “fit” of this new person who is not known to us. I thought of this because of opening to a prayer in a little book – a lovely gift to me – called Hearts on Fire; Praying with Jesuits that caused me to pause this morning. It began:
Teach me your way of looking at people: as you glanced at Peter after his denial, as you penetrated the heart of the rich young man and the hearts of your disciples. I would like to meet you as you really are, since your image changes those with whom you come into contact.
I’m on my way to help prepare breakfast for the group this morning. It will be easy with these familiar faces to greet them as Christ would and for this I will be thankful. But there will be others…as I live through the week to come. I will try to remember the words of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. – the author of this prayer – which I hope will help me to see with eyes wide open to acceptance and love.