Friday, June 11, 2010

Oil and Miracles

[Last day on the farm]
I've got  mixed metaphors rolling around in my head.  They have to do with two kinds of oil, small amounts of oil that are given away.  The first picture is of an oil pump on the side of an engine.  Compared to the engine, the oil pump is very small and has very little power. It just squirts oil, a little bit at a time, onto the moving parts of the engine.  The pump provides no power to the engine; in fact, it consumes power. It just squirts oil.  But without that oil the engine would burn out.
Switching metaphors, the Widow of Zeraphath had only enough oil and flour to "to eat and die."  Elijah asks the widow to make a small cake for him first.  The widow takes her little oil and gives it away.  And then a miracle happens. 
I often frustrate myself trying to figure out how to get more oil into the system: more righteousness, less oppression; more compassion, less selfishness; more peace, less driving passion.  I grieve that the world is not a better place, and I'm frustrated that I don't have very much oil to give.  I only have enough oil to "eat and die."  And then I remember:  I am not the Power that turns the engine.  I rely on that Power to pump my little bit of oil.  Not enough oil, it seems to me, to make a difference in this huge, hot, grinding engine of a world.  And still, I give my oil away.
Like the widow of Zeraphath, only a miracle will save me.  Only a miracle will save the ones I love, the ones I hate, the ones I don't even know.  Only a miracle will save: not better teachers or techniques, not better bishops or priests, not more opportunities or more money, only a miracle.  I can't make miracles happen.  But I can just keep pumping my little bit of oil.  I can keep giving away the very little bit that I have to give. I've seen miracles before (small ones).  I know they happen.  So I keep pumping.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your last day on the farm, Fr. Michael, and have a safe journey home. Thank you so much for your postings this week. They were a guiding spirit that steadied me.