In a short beautiful article on religious
life, Henri Nouwen spoke of the little
"Just a few weeks ago a friend
died. He was a classmate, and they
the tape of his funeral service. The
reading in that service was a story
a little river. The little river said,
can become a big river." It worked
but there was a big rock. The river
"I'm going to get around this
The little river pushed and pushed,
it had a lot of strength, it got itself
Soon the river faced a big wall, and
river kept pushing this wall. Eventually,
the river made a canyon and carved
through. The growing river said, "I
can do it. I can push it. I am not
to let down for anything." Then
was an enormous forest. The river said,
go ahead anyway and just force these
down." And the river did.
The river, now powerful, stood on the
of an enormous desert with the sun
down. The river said, "I'm going
go through this desert." But the
sand soon began to soak up the whole
The river said, "Oh, no. I'm going
do it. I'm going to get myself through
desert." But the river soon had
into the sand until it was only a small
pool. Then the river heard a voice
"Just surrender. Let me lift you
Let me take over." The river said,
I am." The sun then lifted up
and made the river into a huge cloud.
carried the river right over the desert
let the cloud rain down and make the
far away fruitful and rich.
There is a moment in our life when
before the desert and want to do it
But there is the voice that comes,
go. Surrender. I will make you fruitful.
Yes, trust me. Give yourself to me."
The deserts in our lives are important
they put us in our place. There is
who lost her only daughter. There is
father of four who is dying of cancer.
is this couple facing divorce because
just cannot live together any more.
lose control and we either let go or
enter into more anguish.
Saint John Chrysostom (c.347-407) wrote
gem, "Let us not then be disturbed,
neither dismayed, when trials befall
For if the gold refiner sees how long
ought to leave the piece of gold in
and when he ought to draw it out, and
not allow it to remain in the fire
it is destroyed and burnt up: much
God understand this, and when He sees
we have become more pure, He releases
from our trials so that we may not
and cast down by the multiplication
evils. Let us then not feel sorry for
or lose heart when some unexpected
befalls us… for He does this for a
purpose and with a view of the profit
those who are tried."
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
state, if this copyright notice is