Friday Week 31 Year I (St Charles Borromeo)

They are all at it today. It’s an orgy of self-justification. The parable’s full of it. Paul’s full of it. And even our feast of Charles Borromeo hints of it. How do we do things right? How do we run our diocese, or live out our calling, or just make an easy living? If no one were watching it might all be easy. Who cares what a mess we make if we’re not caught out? Who’s bothered by the corners we cut if the boss is away?
But don’t we feel all the time that we are under scrutiny? There’s always someone to pick us up on what we’ve done, or done badly, or not done at all. And not just irate employers—there’s friends and family and community we live with. Don’t you wish they’d get off your back? Don’t you wish they’d let up? Don’t you wish you could have some peace and quiet?
Maybe that’s why you’ve come on retreat? To get away from it all. To leave the prying eye’s behind. To be left alone.
But then look what they do! They bring out crafty and dishonest stewards, apostles busy with their own self-assessment, and dead bishops who ran a tight ship.
Worst of all though is the all-seeing eye you bring along yourselves. The critical voice that will never quite quit. And I don’t mean God. I mean the personal inner tyrant that sounds like God, pretends to be God, but wears a disapproving frown.
If you want some peace and quiet, if you want to hear the real voice of the real God, you’re going to need to leave the inner critic at the front door and listen instead for the real God, the God who praises the strangest people for the damnedest things. If you opened your ears and relaxed your heart this evening what would you hear God praising you for … even you, even now.

One reply on “Friday Week 31 Year I (St Charles Borromeo)”

  1. I always think of that critical fault-finding inner voice as The Voice of Reason … the voice of unconditional love is the one that sounds unreliable. But maybe …

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