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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


"When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters, his banquet service, and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD, she was breathless." 1Kgs 10:4-5

Sometimes it is a sunset that takes our breath away. At other times, it is a surprise gift or the insight of a child or grandchild. Having our breath taken away is almost always a surprise. We come upon a vista while driving or a person, a movie or a play that not only startles us, it also challenges us.

The Queen of Sheba, resistant to all she heard about Solomon's triumphs, decided to see for herself and what she discovered changed her attitude and her life, which is the point of this passage. When were we last surprised, lifted up and challenged by something or something from whom we expected little?

While visiting our novitiate recently, I was delighted by the roasts the novices concocted to celebrate the birthdays of their classmates and staff. While poking fun at one another's idiosyncrasies, they also highlighted how each person brought unique gifts to the community, and their creativity reminded me of my own seminary days.

Often during the years of my initial formation as a Capuchin, the brothers would put on plays and musicals that amazed me and made me very happy and proud to be a friar. The talent displayed by some friars was wonderful, but the willingness of others, whose talent was limited, to be vulnerable for the sake of the common good touched me even more. Whenever we think more about the needs and desires of others, and act on their behalf, we are always better. Other centeredness is the core of Jesus' life and Gospel living.

Today, pause in gratitude for the last time you were breathless with delight.

How do you help others to be breathless with the gift of faith?

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