I have a problem. I take offense easily at a lot of things. A big part of it is pride. Another part is automatic reactions that are hardwired into me from my childhood. Even still, another part is recognition of unjust situations. The problem has to do with being, or not being, supple.
No matter what the reason, it’s a problem that I recognise. Some things I can work on from my end, like going to therapy and working on childhood issues. Or working towards creating just resolutions when there is injustice. And yet at some time I’ve realised that I alone cannot overcome this, and I need to learn how to be supple to the Holy Spirit so that His work can be done in me.
Supple. I don’t know why that word occurred to me the other evening at prayer. I’ve always found that word awkward, too often used in romance novels and the like. But it also reminds me of a tanner, working with leather to create something soft and pliable. Or this amazing marble sculpture of Mary, “The Veiled Virgin,” by Giovanni Strazza. How supple the veil is over Mary’s face! So soft, so lithe, and from such a hard substance, too!
I’ve often hear of the psalms referred to as supplications to God, which essentially means to humble oneself. It’s interesting to think of the commonalities. It is in being supple that we can bend under stress and not break, it is what gives us flexibility and gracefulness. When we are supple, we are resilient. Supplication is the humble request, or to beg humbly to God, realising we are not enough on our own.
In my prayer time, as I prayed humble requests to God, it occurred to me that this is an antidote to pride, to taking offense. Not the only one; I’m sure there are wiser people who can suggest other courses as well. But it is when we can become humble that pride loosens its grip: when we allow ourselves to be chiseled like marble, or when we are sanded and waxed like leather, or even when we are melted and re-formed like gold (or chocolate, for that matter). When we allow ourselves to be presented in humility to God, the creator and the artist, we allow the Spirit to mold us and reshape us. Supplication to God — humbly praying, asking God, and also allowing God to do his work in us.
Admitting when I’m wrong, apologizing when I’ve hurt someone, choosing not to have the last word, letting go of control, conversing with uncomfortable people — all these are the Master Chisel shaping us to be conduits of his glory. Allowing ourselves to be made supple is not easy work, but we are called to be as supple as our Saviour — who was resilient throughout His Passion. His humbleness created the space where the glory of God could shine. It was not pride, or offense, that brought about salvation.
The more I realise this, the more I see the work I need to do.
God grant us the grace to become supple in your Spirit.
Copyright 2019 Jane Korvemaker