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Starting Point
Issue Date:  June 4, 2004

Starting Point


The world is full of troubles, big troubles and little troubles. Jesus once said something about the futility of worrying and then assured his followers that God cared about everybody and everything, even down to the smallest things.

But even he worried over Jerusalem.

Walking on our monastery grounds helps me leave troubles behind. Moving seems to ease my insides. I do not walk far and do not see a lot of this earth. How strange, though, that things so far from me should cause worry. I have only this place. It is all I can really be present to.

During my walk yesterday, I disturbed a mother bird and her nest of young. On today’s walk, I took a little detour and avoided the tree with the nest. A little less worry in the world.

I will try to take other detours today. Maybe write something kind, something good. Maybe trust God and worry a little less.

Maybe I will walk again later, keeping a safe distance from the tree with the nest, and take another path.

It is still the season of Easter. We chant a lot of Alleluias here. We chant them every day. They are beautiful and of different tones and no small part of their beauty is in their difference. They are like all of life, brimming with beauty and difference and, yes, worry and troubles.

We do not get the notes right all the time. But the meaning is there. It rises through the sour notes, through the worry, bringing troubles to a different and better place.

Someone from another life made a detour to earth and lived, suffered and died -- and, we believe, rose again from the dead. There is then only life, eternal life.


“O happy fault,” the Song of Joy tells us at Easter, “Oh necessary sin of Adam,” through which God sent his son, sent eternal life.

Necessary detours promise life, life in abundance. I like that. A graced bend in the road. A silver lining to the clouds. An eternal gate at the bottom of the lowest hill and at the top of the meanest climb -- a gate open to all. Even God apparently worried that some would have trouble finding him.

Trappist Fr. James Stephen Behrens lives at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, Ga.

National Catholic Reporter, June 4, 2004

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