TELL ME A STORY: A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions Posted January 21, 2022 by admin@interfaith


© Monkey Business

January 22, 2022

A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.

There is a wonderful passage in the Book of Nehemiah. Chapter 8: 1 – 10 tells the story of Esdras the Scribe as he carefully and lovingly proclaimed the Law of the Lord as recorded in the Book he placed before them. He proclaims the Word of God to a people who have just returned from exile, uncertainty, and defeat. Jerusalem remains in ruins, with the rebuilding taking longer than expected. The Book is not identified, but every indication points to the Torah. The people are deeply moved as they weep. They are instructed, however, to rejoice and be glad. The Levites declare, “Today, in your hearing, is a holy day. Eat, drink, and dance!” The discovery of the Book and the hearing of its verses touched the peoples’ hearts with hope, peace, and vision. They will read these verses every chance they have.
One day a young man complained to me about the repetitious nature of the Liturgy. For him, no matter the season, the rituals and words were the “same thing over and over again.” I took his complaint to heart. I was all fired up to deliver a passionate response, but something in my heart invited me to listen to his complaint rather than attack or defend. 
I remember when I was a little boy. My mother would often hand me a list of items she needed from the grocery store. Every week or so, it was the “same old thing over and over again.” Before I could issue my complaints, she hugged me with love and thanked me for helping. I am slowly learning to enter the moment with love, understanding, and compassion. The young man who shared his complaint trusted me to listen and respect him. I now see how blessed I was to listen to his complaint as he searched his heart.   
It seems Esdras’ Book was found in the rubble of a ruined city. It was a pearl of great price found in the ashes of destruction and loss. It takes great courage to go treasure hunting when overwhelmed by loss and grief. The Book of the Law of the Lord was a treasure written in the pages of a peoples’ hearts and souls. 
When my mother died, I carefully and broken-heartedly cleaned her house so a new family could move in and be blessed by her spirit. I found a note as I double-checked the drawers and closets one last time. I thought I had cleared out everything. However, there was a note from my mother on a shelf. It was an old grocery list of items she needed. My young friend is correct. It is the same old story over and over again. It is a story we must never forget. I long for my mother to give me one more list. This time I will run to the store with great joy. I read my new found note with joy and a tear in my eye. 
I now know why the people listening to Esdras reading from the Book of Law wept. They wept the tears of joy. May we never forget the stories written in our hearts and hiding in storages bins or buried somewhere in our memories. May we recite them over and over again.
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for all the times you remembered the stories written in your hearts. Gratitude to you for all the moments in your life when you lovingly and patiently heard the same old story over and over again. May the power of those stories bless you and give you peace.  

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:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279