A new altar appointment arrived today, one of two new candleholders we have purchased. It arrived in a very big box that I opened tonight and found to be jam-packed with newsprint so finely chopped that it looked like it had been through a food processor. The candlestick was buried at the bottom, so nothing to do but dig, which meant pulling out nearly every bit of the newsprint. I wound up with a huge mess of sliced and diced paper all over the sacristy floor. With the pieces too large to vacuum and too small to easily grasp, nothing to do but get on my knees and start to pick it all up. It took a very long time.
It was one of those moments where you start to wonder why you went to graduate school. But it was also one of those moments when you realize that a master’s degree in picking up the pieces is really more important than a master’s degree in theology. If we can’t approach the unexpected tasks and toil of life with a loving and patient heart, what good does it do to know the finer points of the Filioque Controversy?
I left the sacristy, and on the way back to my room I found something else unexpected that needed to be tended to by running a fan. Nothing to do but find a fan, get down on my knees, and crawl under a desk to plug it in…
It feels as if I have spent the entire evening on my knees, but isn’t that what we are called to, prayerfully tending to that which is broken with a loving, humble heart? I enjoy studying theology and deeply appreciate my education, but to help build the Kingdom of God I pray for a master’s degree in picking up the pieces with a loving and prayerful heart.