Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trusting the man with scars

Father William McKee, C.Ss.R (1920-2009) was a Roman Catholic priest of the Redemptorist order who, after ten years in the Amazon, and twenty years administrative work, devoted the last thirty years of his life reaching out to the lapsed and unevangelised. One of his most popular books is Listen With Your Heart, from which the following meditation comes: 

Once upon a time here was a man, a man with scars. And a girl, a girl with dreams. The man with scars came to the girl with dreams and said to her: I love you. Come away with me. 

The girl with dreams said: I have thought on one such as you. Are you the one for whom I have waited? Are you the one of whom I have dreamed? 

The man with the scars said: I am the one. 

* * * * *

The girl said: I see that you are beautiful. But you have scars. 

The man said: Do not let my scars frighten you. Do not even be frightened when I tell you that if you come away with me you will have scars too. 

The girl said: But I would be frightened. Scars would make me unhappy.

The man said: Not mine. To you they will be bittersweet.

The girl said: I do not know if I love you. 

The man said: Trust me. 

The girl said: I will trust you. I will go with you. 

She went away with him. 

* * * * *

Together they travelled far. 

They walked over hot deserts. They tiptoed over deep oceans. They climbed high mountains and they ranged through verdant valleys. 

Wherever they walked a great lady walked with them. When the girl with dreams stumbled, the great lady took her hand and helped her. 

Yes, together they walked far. 

Mostly they walked with children. They walked in the ringing laughter of the little ones. They walked in their absurd tears. With cautious step, even though they were big, they walked into the tiny hearts of the children. When they walked out they left gifts behind ‑ splendid gifts, beautiful gifts. This made the man with scars and the great lady very happy. It made the girl with dreams happy, too. 

They walked with the sick and the old and the poor and the needy. Indeed, no class or type of people escaped their attention. 

At times the girl with dreams said to the man with scars: I am tired. I will walk no more with you. 

He said to her: We have come far. We have yet far to go. Do not falter now. Clasp my hand more tightly. Close your eyes. Trust me. 

She trusted him, not letting go of his hand. She shut her eyes. Suddenly she was not so tired. Abruptly the road became smoother. And when she opened her eyes she saw his scars upon her. 

He said: Is the pain too great? 

She said: No, not too great. I know now what you meant when you said that they would be bittersweet.

He said: True travellers must learn to bear my scars . . . Let us go on. 

They travelled on. They walked over more hot deserts. Again they tiptoed over deep oceans. They climbed other high mountains and ranged through other verdant valleys. 

* * * * *

One day, someone came up to the girl with dreams and said to her: I want to buy your scars. 

She said: Why do you want to buy them? 

He said: I do not like the man with scars. I do not want anyone to bear them. I want to erase all the scars which he has left around the world. 

She said: I will not sell them. 

He said: I will give you much money. 

She said: That will not do. 

He said: I will give you kingdoms. 

She said: I don’t need other kingdoms. 

He said: What do you want? 

She said: I want only to walk with him. 

* * * * *

She went to the man with scars and put her hand in his and said: I love you. 

He said: You have always loved me even when you were unaware of it. 

They continued their journey. 

* * * * *

Whenever and wherever they found hearts, they stopped and entered. And when they departed, hey left heir gifts behind ‑ splendid gifts, beautiful gifts. 

Some hearts they could not enter. This saddened the girl with dreams. 

The man with scars said to her: be not sad. You can only do so much. 

She said: I want to do more. 

He said: I am happy that you want to do more. 

Then, one great day they came to a milestone. 

He said: Let us pause and rest. 

They rested. 

While they were resting, people arrived. And from the people came a spokesman. 

The spokesman said: You have travelled far. You have come to the milestone. 

The girl with dreams said: yes, I see that we have come a great distance. It does not seem that we have travelled this far. 

The spokesman said: Today is a very great day, and we are pleased that you have come to the milestone. 

She said: I am pleased, too. 

The spokesman said: I want to thank you for having walked so far with him. 

The girl with the dreams said: Do not thank me: Thank him. 

The spokesman said: Did you walk alone with him? 

She said: No, a great lady walked with us. She encouraged me immensely. 

The spokesman said: The man with the scars is a very great man. I am pleased that you have walked with him. 

The girl with dreams said: I am glad that I have walked with him these many years. I hope that many more will walk with him in the future.


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