Sister Beatrix, the postulant, at the cloister of Mary Magdalene, came upon Mother Magdalene as she was seated in the refectory chatting with some of the other sisters during the recreation time just after lunch. Sister Beatrix sat down next to Mother Magdalene and during a lull in the conversation, she whispered into Mother Magdalene’s ear, “Mother, now that I have the ability to walk on water, how about if you and I go over to the pond and stroll around on it and carry on a spiritual discussion about the role of justice in the sacred teachings.”
Mother Magdalene smiled and said, “Oh Beatrix, if what you are trying to do is to get away from these other sisters, why don’t you come with me and fly into the air. We can drift along on the air currents in the quiet open sky and we can talk there in peace.
“Mother Dearest, I am afraid I can’t do that because I don’t yet have the power to fly.”
Mother Magdalene gave Sister Beatrix a sideways hug around the shoulders, and said “Just so, little grasshopper. Your ability to remain on top of the water is common among fish. And they can even do that when the pond is not frozen as it is today. My ability to glide through the air can be done by even the most annoying mosquito. But, these abilities have nothing to do with the real truth, with the ability to live a life of dignity and justice. Indeed, abilities that feel extra ordinary may all too readily become the grounds for arrogance and hubris and competition rather than markers of spiritual growth. If we are going to talk of spirituality and justice, we should really be talking here. If we are going to live lives dedicated to dignity, compassion, caring and service, we can only live those lives here and now in this present moment. Yesterday is history . . .”
“Ah, yes, Mother,” Beatrix continued, “yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift, which is why we call it the present. It is an opportunity to present ourselves for service.”