There was once a monk who was famous for speaking only in questions. Anytime someone would come to him needing advice, he would pray deeply then give them a question to meditate on. One particular day, a Priest came to him and said, “I am here on retreat and I was wondering if you could give me a question to meditate on while I am here.”

The monk prayed very deeply for a moment then whispered, “What do they need?”

The priest though about this for a second and said, “that is indeed a very good question to ponder but I was hoping for a question having less to do with my vocation as a priest and more to do with my own personal spiritual quest for truth…”

The monk prayed very deeply for a moment then whispered, “What do they really need?”

What do they really need? As a person in ministry, this parable really resonates with me. Sometimes there is a difference between the lesson or message we long to give and what the people need to hear. All of us, as disciples, are called to minister to the needs of others. We cannot easily separate our interior life from our exterior acts of service. They are deeply intertwined. We certainly need to find times to retreat from the world and recharge and reconnect with God. Sabbath is commanded of us. However, that time is spent so that we can come back ready to meet the needs of others. When Jesus asked Peter three times “Do you love me?” After Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!” Jesus replied, “feed my sheep.”

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…

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