Daily Reflection
December 7th, 2006

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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Memorial of Saint Ambrose
Isaiah 26:1-6
Psalm 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a
Matthew 7:21, 24-27

A House Built on Rock

In the animated film Happy Feet, the first baby penguin to dive into the ocean had slid on the ice and slipped over the edge. Mumble, the misfit, hit the water first. The other fledglings, stirred by his example, took the plunge shrieking with joy.

Most of us need someone to get us moving. It’s not for me to dive into the unknown. Someone is up ahead just in view. I find the courage to follow.

Sister Helen Prejean spoke to the crowd. She confessed that in her younger days she was not interested in social justice. Her ministry to those on death row began with a phone call. Someone was in need. Answering one call led to another. “It’s always about meeting real people.”

How do we get real? Abstractions keep us compliant. We rehearse the arguments on both sides. Years pass. We become seasoned observers ready to judge. To encounter another person is the mystery that gets us moving. We thaw in the presence of the other. Slipping along we find ourselves in the thick of it, learning to listen, engaged in the world, becoming real.

We are the house. Our lives grow stronger every time we say yes. Each time we head for the table in the back reserved for losers. When we climb on the bus and the adventure begins. When we lift the cross and cry “Presente.” When righteousness dissolves into laughter. When judging is not so vigorous. When we take the plunge because we are not alone.

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