Jamie held two identical wooden crucifixes, one on each palm of her hands. She looked at one, then at the other. Undecided, she swayed her head trying to figure out which crucifix to choose.
Her mind clearly discerned which was the better one: the one in her right hand. She firmly gripped the cross on her right.
“I can’t give this up!” she exclaimed.
Jamie just came back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She had bought a number of souvenirs and religious objects. She made sure to pass the religious items on the sacred places she had visited to give them more spiritual weight.
She liked the design of one particular crucifix and bought a two dozen of the cheaper ones and ten specially hand-carved ones which were more expensive. Jamie took one of the expensive crosses and wrapped it in silk wrapper as a gift to her best friend Pam.
Pam, who had been dreaming of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, was so excited to receive the cross. She treasured it and gave it a special place in her desk and made sure to always carry it with her.
One day, Jamie received a text from Pam:[HU! HU! HU! Lost the crucifix you gave! So sorry… Looked everywhere but it seems 2b nowhere!]
Jamie couldn’t help feeling bad for Pam’s lost. She wondered what could make her friend feel better. She thought why not give her another one, after all she still had a few more to spare.
When she opened the box of her Holy Land souvenirs, she gasped when she saw that there was only one cross left: and the cheaper version of what she had given to Pam.
Now here she was: give Pam that extra cross or give her what she had bought for herself?
“It’s her fault after all! She should have been more careful about where she left it!” The thought crossed Jamie’s mind.
“How can I give her what’s mine? Giving her this cheaper one wouldn’t really matter, sides it also came from the Holy Land.” This other thread popped out of her thoughts.
“But she’s my friend! How could I even think this way,” she rectified.
Finally, Jamie tightly clasped the better cross and said, “I will give this one to her!” At that, she returned the cheaper cross in the box and began looking for gift wrapper to pack her treasured crucifix for her friend.[CLICK!] Jamie smiled. The sound silently but clearly registered in her heart and she knew God had just taken a selfie with her in her soul.
* * *
I was quite touched by Jamie’s story. It is a rather common experience that everyone has. It is not the usual dilemma of making a black or white choice, that is, between something good and bad, between virtue or vice. It is more like having to choose the better of two goods: when one is invited by God to exercise more generosity, patience, understanding and sacrifice, etc.
Jamie’s choice can be called a ‘selfie of the soul’ because there is no one to take a snapshot of one’s conscience, except the person himself who is alone with God. Our Lord is simply waiting if he will choose the better part out of love for Him and our neighbors.
Our Lord Himself invited the rich young man to follow him. There was no coercion whatsoever. He left the young fellow to decide for himself whether to sell his possessions and follow Him. A similar idea is expressed in another parable of Jesus where a king invited guests to his banquet and how those invited took it lightly and never went.
Our spiritual selfie moment need not take place only on extraordinary cases. It can be easily snapped with the constant practice of the examination of conscience. This powerful and fruitful ascetical norm invites us to enter within our hearts. There, we converse with God, with the help of His grace, to consider certain decisions.
It is in this examination, a loving dialogue with Jesus, that the soul is able to discern better our Lord’s promptings to be more grateful, detached, penitent and apostolic. It is here, as we learn to refined our response, where we surrender to God that which perhaps, we were thinking of reserving for ourselves: our comfort, leisure, plans and possessions, etc.
Perhaps, like Jamie we too will here that [CLICK!]