Tuesday, September 28, 2010
BLOG # 72 CHALK
Blog # 72 CHALK Years ago, while visiting a Catholic School in Chicago, a boy asked me this question: What does it feel like for you to be a Christian? I had been trying to live as a Christian for years, but nobody that I could remember had ever asked me what it felt like before. So I thought for half a moment and then reached back to the blackboard in the room and picked up a piece of chalk. I held up the piece of chalk and said: "To be a Christian feels something like being a piece of chalk." You should have seen the boy's face. Up until then he was smiling but when I said it felt like being a piece of chalk it looked as if he had decided right then and there the Christian life was not for him. So I put down the chalk and tried to make what I said less of an obstacle. "I didn't mean it is a bad sort of a feeling to be a Christian, a chalky sort of feeling or something like that. I'll show you what I mean. Watch". I drew a big 'X' on the board with my hand. Then I picked up the chalk again, and now, with the chalk in hand I drew an 'X' on the same spot where I had made the motion with my arm before. Now you could see the 'X' clearly, whereas in the first instance it could not be seen. I asked the boy "Who did that?" He said; "You did". "How about the chalk?" "The chalk did it too." "Right! And that is what I meant when I said that it sort of feels like being a piece of chalk to be a Christian. I had the message for you - 'X'. The chalk made it visible. It could be seen and read by all once I wrote it on the board in chalk. That's the way it is with God. God has a message for the world. The message is that God loves us. A Christian studies the message and makes it his or her own. Then he or she lives in such a way that the message is visible." You can see and hear and feel the message of God's love when Christians visit the sick and aged, when they help the poor, console the sorrowful, when they rejoice in what is good, sacrifice themselves for what is right, and when they pray. This is what I meant when I said to be a Christian feels something like being a piece of chalk. It is not a bad feeling at all. The message of God is always the same - " I love you". We who are Christian know this and we are called upon to make the message of God's love our very own and proclaim it by our life.. When we fail to make it personal to ourselves and fail to reflect it in our lives, then we just don't know what it feels like to be a Christian, someone who is sent with a message, a piece of chalk in the hand of God. May each of us who are made one with Jesus by faith and Baptism proclaim the message well all the days of our lives, until all of our chalk is used up and we are safe in Heaven, where the message began and where it lives unchallenged, undistorted by sin, forever.