Knock, knock. “Who’s there?” … Thursday, September 5

Christ Knocking

Christ Knocking. Do unexpected guests need to be inconvenient, or do blessings and needs, ours and theirs, need careful, prayerful, evaluation?

A Rosary Meditation … The Second Joyful Mystery, the Visitation. Have you ever heard an unexpected knock at the door? It can be inconvenient, can’t it? Just when you’re ready to take a nap or get in the tub or start lunch or take the dog out because it REALLY needs to go out NOW, and you hear the knock. Maybe its the neighbor who’s always borrowing tools and never bringing them back, or its your aunt who never shuts up or its some couple trying to give you a pamphlet about the end of the world and being ready. Meanwhile the dog went, just not “out”, the phone starts ringing, and lunch is boiling over on the stove. Unexpected guests. But every once in a while you get lucky. The toilet is stopped up and you can’t unplug it. And just as you realize, “Oh, yea, this is how Rover felt,” the knock on the door is Bob from work who knows more about plumbing than most plumbers. Or you’re cooking lunch while trying to keep the squirrels out of the backyard bird feeder and Frances, who has a way with animals and just happens to be a really great cook, knocks because she’s worried about you. She lives three doors down and heard someone screaming something about birdseed and death. Sounded like it was coming from your backyard. Unexpected visitors. Like Elizabeth had when Mary knocked. What sort of day do you think Elizabeth was having when Mary showed up? Remember, she was well on in age and pregnant with her first child. She was in charge of a household and that didn’t end when her pregnancy started. Was lunch boiling over on the stove? Maybe. Remember the neighbor who borrows tools and forgets to bring them back? You know, the one in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. But he doesn’t talk about it because he doesn’t want to burden others. Or Aunt Sally, remember her? Her husband died 16 years ago and all her children have jobs out of the country and live overseas now. She talks a lot, but she never mentions  they never call or write. Your uninvited guests, the ones that are seeming nuisances and the ones who get there just in the nick of time, could very well be there, regardless how it may look, for the same reason Mary knocked on Elizabeth’s door.

Today … St. Bertin was born about the beginning of the 7th century near Constance, France, and received his religious formation at the abbey of Luxeuil, at that time, the model abbey for the rather strict Rule of St. Columban. About 639, together with two other monks, he joined St. Omer, Bishop of Therouanne, who had for two years been evangelizing the pagan Morini in the low-lying marshy country of the Pas-de-Calais. I wonder how “convenient” it was, preaching in marshland territory? In this almost totally idolatrous region, these holy missionary monks founded a monastery which came to be called St. Mommolin after its first Abbot. After eight arduous years of preaching the Faith for Christ, they founded a second monastery at Sithiu, dedicated to St. Peter. St. Bertin ruled it for nearly sixty years and made it famous; accordingly, after his death it was called St. Bertin and gave birth to the town of St. Omer. St. Bertin practiced the greatest austerities and was in constant communion with God. He also traveled much and trained disciples who went forth to preach the Faith to others. No doubt turning up at doors unexpectedly. Among others, he selected St. Winnoc to found a monastery at Wormhoudt, near Dunkirk, and this saint figures in many medieval calendars. At an advanced age (past 100), this zealous preacher of Christ died, surrounded by his sorrowing monks.

Remember … “And hospitality do not forget; for by this some, being not aware of it, have entertained angels.” Hebrews 13:2.