SM Roberta Moser CSSF, Director of Mission & Values
One day Rumi asked one of his young disciples to give him an enormous amount of rich and delicious food. This young disciple was quite arrogant and somewhat alarmed because he thought Rumi was living an ascetic lifestyle. Rumi used to pray all night and hardly eat anything. The disciple thought, “Aha, now I’ve really got the master. What he really wants is to go off somewhere secretly and eat all this food.” So he decided to follow Rumi. He followed him through the streets of the city, out through the fields, out into yet further fields. Then he saw Rumi go into a ruined tomb-like cave. “I’m finally going to expose all of his pretentions,” the young disciple thought. But what he found when he himself entered the cave was a totally exhausted dog with six puppies. Rumi was feeding the dog with his own hands so that she could survive to feed her puppy children. Rumi knew all along that the disciple was following him, of course, and turned to him smiling and said, “See?” The disciple, extremely moved, said, “But how on earth did you know that she was here? This is miles away from where we live!” Rumi laughed and laughed. “When you have become awake your ears are so acute they can hear the cries of a sparrow ten thousand miles away.”
How awake are you? Do you hear the cries that may surround you? A troubled co-worker? A child in your care? How about a patient or resident who needs you? Perhaps it’s someone who comes to you for social services? Not only do you HEAR, but do you LISTEN? Do you take time to become APPROACHABLE? To open your heart and soul to each individual in your midst or are you busy about many things and therefore not really available? You half listen and just dismiss the person.
On any given day, we, each of us, can be poor of body, poor of mind, poor in spirit.
We’re all in the same boat. We can be joyful and enjoying life. We can be frail, broken members of the great human family.
That being said, I believe that, as human beings, we are called to be “wounded healers,” to go beyond our own personal borders and comfort zones to attend to each other and to those who come to our ministries. My suggestion? Set your alarm! Wake up! Because what Rumi said is true: “When you have become awake your ears are so acute that they can hear the cries of sparrows ten thousand miles away.” Hear the cry of the poor. And then offer solace in good measure.