Letting our story sit in our hearts

| Nell O’Leary Alt | August 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

“Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah” (Mt 16:20).

Have you ever had the most wonderful secret? On the tip of your tongue, front of your mind, edges of your pumping heart? You can taste it. You can almost see the mirroring of joy in the faces of your beloved friends and family when you spill it out.

In today’s Gospel, Christ asks his disciples who people say he is, and follows up with the show-stopping question of who they say he is. St. Peter responds with his divinely inspired answer of “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Mt 16:16). Trumpets blast! The long-yearned-for savior has arrived! God has made good on his covenant with his people, and they are ready to be saved.

But instead of great fanfare and cheering and shrieking through the streets, Jesus instructs them to tell no one. Not a soul. Not the mourning widow, not the begging child, not the smug Pharisee, not a quick note home to their mothers. Jesus asked his disciples not to tell, and whether they understood the reasons or not, they obeyed him.

Maybe the reason, the lesson in waiting, in delaying our story ensures it can sink into us, through the fibers of our early fall cotton sweater, past those busy veins and arteries, into our gut. It sinks to the bottom. Without rush or fanfare, we can examine it. We can listen for how God is going to teach us through this, even this.

Maybe what you’re holding on to, what I’m holding on to, that we are so desperate to share, the good and the ugly, needs to sit. Maybe it needs to stretch out inside us so we can know it and ourselves more fully before divesting ourselves of it.

I’m holding back some good news in my life. I know if I had spilled it out as it was unfolding, it wouldn’t have come out right. It would have been diluted, marred by my swirling feelings. Now that I have kept it in, it has had the chance to percolate. And God’s gift to me in this tumultuous time has been clarity and peace, gifts that come only with deliberation and reflection.

Can you and I sit with our story for a few more minutes before releasing our news in a tweet, a text or an email? Let God work with us on it in our hearts. Let him tenderly help us. He loves us so.

O’Leary Alt is managing editor for Blessed is She, a ministry for Catholic women, as well as a recovering lawyer married to her law school love. They live and breathe baseball with their four kids in St. Paul. She blogs at WholeParentingFamily.com.


Sunday, Aug. 27
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings

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Category: Sunday Scriptures