Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's good?

In today's gospel we have the famous seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened passage. The part most people don't have memorized is the end. "If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?" Perhaps it's because there is the rub. Who decides what is a "good gift" and how?

When I was small I wore those old heavy metal leg braces.  In some ways they actually made walking more difficult but it was the best doctors knew at the time.  Like all small children I wanted to do everything the other kids wanted to do. My mother told the story of standing in the kitchen clutching the sink, as I tried to run, tried to climb on the swing set, tried to climb trees, and fell ALOT! 
Looking back did the falling hurt? Yes. (There were even a few stitches involved over the years) 
But was it good? Was it a "good gift"? I would argue now that one of the greatest gifts she ever gave me was allowing me to fall down and pick myself up.  Neither that nor the physical therapy seemed like a gift or good at the time. The falling hurt and the PT seemed like 
torture.  But that was all from my child's point of view.

Compared to God we are all small children. We can distinguish good from bad in a rudimentary way. God has revealed to us some important distinctions. But for the more complex issues we simply have to trust God.

As St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, "We know that all things work for good for those who love God" 
Can we trust God to decide whats good?