In the Front or Back Room?

From Br. Joseph —

St. Jerome, best known as the translator of the Bible into Latin from Greek and Hebrew, is reported to have had a vision of the child Jesus. In the vision, Jesus asked Jerome why he had not given Him everything. Jerome was puzzled. “Lord,” he protested, “I have devoted my life to your service. I have given you all my works, all my love, all my praise, everything.” “No,” replied Jesus. “You have not given me your sins.”

A not-so-subtle reminder of the Cross…

All of this reminds me of a question I once heard in regard to prayer. Do you pray in the front room or the back room of the house in your heart?

The front room of most houses is the room where most guests are received, the living room or parlor as it was called in the old days. The front room is where the best furniture is placed. This room is kept clean, neat, and presentable. On the other hand, the back room, like my bedroom, is messy. There are clothes lying across a chair, an odd sock or two lying in the corner next to a pair of shoes. The bed is not always made. A pile of small boxes sit in the corner. Books lay around here and there, unshelved. Outsiders very rarely see the back room.

The same goes with our prayer. Do we try to meet God on our terms in the front room of our heart, where we have things all tidy and neat? Do we try to show God only our best side? Or do we pray in the back room of our heart, where life is messy and untidy? Broken pieces of our life are lying about here and there, raw, naked, and exposed. Do we try to show God our perfect side, our good side, the side we are proud of? Or do we let God see our imperfections, our dark side, the side we are ashamed of?

Which room allows God to transform us? In which room do we relinquish control and hand it over to God? Which room are we afraid to be in ourselves? Which room requires you to trust God?

Dare to move belief into trust.

Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us…