The reading this week comes from the last chapter of Jonah, chapter 4. Jonah is, indeed, a short book, but for me, it is a powerful book. My life seems to have some parallels with Jonah, and I can certainly empathize with some of his feelings. Chapter 4 tells of Jonah's anger at God's compassion on the Ninevites, whose destruction he had been sent to preach, only to learn that God would not destroy them because they repented.
Reading: Jonah 4
Meditation: Last week, I commented about how my job situation had taken a path along the lines of Jonah's task to preach to the Ninevites. I have long been aware of that parallelism. However, I had not thought much about the conclusion to Jonah's story until I read it today. I really do understand Jonah's anger (or, at least, frustration). All that work -- and embarrassment -- for nothing!
Earlier the end of the story struck me as Jonah going off the deep end and being a selfish person. However, now that I have had so much contrary experience with the task of dealing with Adrian (as I pseudonymized the real person in my book, A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God), or Goliath, as I referred to him in earlier posts on 100th Lamb and Modern Mysticism. I seemed to be tasked with combatting the sense of evil that seemed always to surround Adrian, then was told to "love him," and the later he seemed to get off scot-free. (Sort of like when I was told my abusive mother "lives in grace.") Just like Jonah, I have had to come to terms with the reality that God gets to make the judgments, not I. (But, oh, how I would like to be the one to make them!)
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for love that goes beyond anything I can imagine. I will ask forgiveness for my petty reactions when I see such love being given to my nemeses and will give thanks for being gently guided into more proper thinking, as was Jonah. I will also ask God to readjust my attitude whenever a readjustment is needed. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.