Back at the cloister of the good Sisters of Mary Magdalene life proceeds apace. But what exactly is apace? About three feet? Well that depends on how long your legs are really. But no, when you scope out the dictionary, apace means to travel fast enough to keep up with the momentum around you. That being the case, life for the good sisters definitely did not proceed apace. The good sisters in face remain intentionally out of step with the momentum around them, taking their good old sweet time to pray and meditate and to savor the sweetness of the world around them, to bask in awe of what is and what could be when we but find our place at one met with what is.
Well, for the most part that is how this are. But then there is Sister Honora. You will remember Sister Honora – she is somewhere around 90 years old, and has some visual and auditory challenges (some would say she is blind as a bat and deaf as a stone, but don’t let her hear you say that or she will lasso you with her rosary beads and give you what for but good!). So, just the other day Sister Beatrix, one of the postulants caring for the older sisters in the cloister took it as her mission to convince Sister Honora that she really should be wearing her hearing aid.
Now, Sister Beatrix is humble if she is nothing else, and she is many other things. But her humility is one of her virtues of which she is most proud. So, she humble approached Reverend Mother and asked her how she might approach this issue with Sister Honora. The good Reverend Mother suggested that she stand about 40 feet from Sister Honora and talk to her in a conversational voice to see if she hears you. If not, then move in to about 30 feet, then to 20 feet, and to keep moving closer until she got a response.
So, the very next day Sister Beatrix was near the back of the in the refectory just outside of Sister Honora’s room, and she thought that they must be about 40 feet apart, so she called out to Sister Honora, “Sister Honora, what is the scripture meditation for vespers today?” She heard no response.
So Sister Beatrix walked down the refectory a bit closer to Sister Honora’s room, about 30 feet from it, and asked, “Sister Honora, what is the scripture meditation for vespers today?” And she heard no response.
Sister Beatrix smiled to herself as she gathered this proof positive of Sister Honora’s need to wear her hearing aid, she walked further through the refectory so that she was now about 20 feet from Sister Honor’s room and asked again, “Sister Honora, what is the scripture meditation for vespers today?” And still no response.
She put her head into Sister Honora’s room so that the two of them were about 10 feet about and one more time she asked, “Sister Honora, what is the scripture meditation for vespers today?” Still no response!
Finally she walked right up to Sister Honora, looked her square in the face, smiled and said, “Sister Honora, what is the scripture meditation for vespers today?”
And Sister Honora also smiled and said, “Sister Beatrix, for the fifth time I’ve said ‘it is Luke 6:42, How can you offer to take the speck out of your sister’s eye with that log in your own eye.’ Dear, would you like to borrow my hearing aid?” And Sister Honora reached up to her ear to remove the hearing aid to offer it to our dear Sister Beatrix.
With thanks to Philip Chircop, this is an adapted version of his THE DEAF WIFE AND THE CONCERNED HUSBAND https://philipchircop.wordpress.com/ which he found in Cathy L. Wray, The Perfect Blend Devotional (WestBow Press, 2014) pages 147-148
Philip reminds us to remember this: The problem may not be with the other one as we always think. It could be very much within us. We sometimes tend to look to heal in others problems or issues that are actually ours.