Friday, August 29, 2008

29th August ... How much does your footprint weigh?

Today is yet another special day in our lives. On this day when we recall the beheading of John the Baptist we also call to mind Blessed Edmund Rice and Br Paul Noonan whose death aniversaries it is today.

I found the following while reading 'Roots and Wings', a book by Margaret Silf.

A black South African woman who runs an orphanage for children whose parents had died of HIV/AIDS was asked, ‘What would you like to leave behind as your legacy when you die?” She thought about the question for a few moments. Her answer took the interviewer by surprise: “When I die,” she said, “I hope I will have spent everything I have. When I meet my maker, I want to be empty-handed, because I want to have used up completely every gift God has given me. When I die I want to leave nothing behind, except a little footprint that might help others find their way.”

What a light and slender footprint that would be.

Jesus left no obvious or permanent `prints’ behind. He wrote no books, achieved no academic status, created nothing of artistic value. He left us neither a philosophy nor a theology. He established no new form of earthly government, and there are many who would say he established no new religion, no church, no organisation, no hierarchy and no institution.

When he died he had spent everything he had, and he returned into the eternal now having used up completely every gift that God had given him. Leaving only his spirit and slender pointer in the direction of life, and women who had understood who he was and were willing to set out along the narrow path that leads to the future.

To follow his dream is to be awake and alive to the slightest stirrings of his living spirit, not to seek for mere monuments of his life on earth. To follow the dream is to tread lightly upon the earth, so lightly that we can almost fly.

How much does your footprint weigh?
Today I am reminded of the footprints left behind by the likes of John the Baptist, Blessed Edmund and Br Paul Noonan. Footprints in which we follow, feet that have walked before us charting a path for us. Today we remember these saints and humans. And in the words of Joyce Johnson Rouse,
"I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me
I am stronger for their courage, I am wiser for their words
I am lifted by their longing for a fair and brighter future
I am grateful for their vision, for their toiling on this Earth.

They lift me higher than I could ever fly
Carrying my burdens away
I imagine our world if they hadn't tried
We wouldn't be here celebrating today"

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