September 18, 2021
A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The great “religious” teachers seem to have something in common. It is not their doctrine, ethical teaching, or articulated philosophy. It is their humility.
Some of the great religious teachers experienced the Ultimate in the so-called “ordinariness” of daily existence. The wind carries the wisdom of the Universe. The sun invites us to the light of wisdom. The moon soothes us in our search for meaning. Consider a day in your life. Discover how many times the ordinary invites you to be a person of peace, forgiveness, understanding, if not love.
Sometimes when I walk under a tree, I feel loved, protected, and shaded as if the branches were the gentleness of God reaching out to me. One day on a busy street a little girl ran up to me, as if out of nowhere, to say, “Hi!” Her parents were embarrassed, but I felt ever so blessed. I thanked them for having such a self-giving child. They smiled.
The great “religious teachers” were not entertained by their greatness. In fact, they would have been shocked to be considered “great.” Buddha taught his followers to follow the wisdom embedded in their hearts as they pursued the course of life. Lao Tzu invited anyone who would listen to pay attention to the ebbs and flows of nature. Rabia of Basra simply loved God regardless of the blessings or disappointments of life. The “ordinary” was extraordinary for these teachers who taught by word and example.
One day, according to Mark 9: 30-37 in the New Testament, Jesus took a child into his arms. His disciples were arguing who among them was the greatest. I suppose they thought greatness meant power, wealth, or status. Perhaps, they wanted to be miracle workers or great teachers. They may have had thoughts of grandiosity. Much to their surprise, Jesus invites them to have the greatness of a child. He invites them to be humble in their caring love for others. Jesus challenges them to have the greatness of a child’s humility. Power, wealth, and status cannot buy or attain the greatness born of a humble heart.
Wisdom is born anew when the sun shines, the moon glows, and the tree shades. The greatness of a person is felt when a little girl runs up to a perfect stranger to say, “HI!”
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for being gentle and humble of heart. You make the Universe rejoice. Go for a walk. There might be a little child looking for you. Tell her I said, “Hi!”
As things begin to return to a new normal, we at The Interfaith Peace Project are here for you in any way that you need us. The Antioch Center is now open to fully vaccinated people on Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are vigilant and will adjust to any and all recommendations from the state and county. We will continue our work through Zoom as we add in person programs. If you would like to schedule an in person or Zoom program or would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call. You may call or email Tom at: