The first rays of the rising sun gilded with gleaming gold the maples along the Tiber. I recalled the challenging but comforting words of Archbishop Oscar Romero. "We are workers. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. We cannot do everything, and there is liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it well. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference be-tween the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own."
And as I remembered those lines, it began to dawn on me that the real challenge in those words lay in the humble yet honest acceptance of the truth that I am a mere mason and not a master builder. These words teach me that God is the architect and that He is always at work, planning, executing and bringing His blueprint to completion. My role is to play my part and play it to the best of my ability. I need to accept my limitations: that I am restricted by time and space, by my own drawbacks and defects, that my resources and reserves are not inexhaustible. The very acceptance of my limitations is so liberating. I do not have to rush or drive myself, and worse still drive others hard, as though I bore like Atlas the brunt of the world's burden. I have yet to learn and live the comforting truth that I cannot do everything.
Every day as a mere mason I am laying a brick. I must lay it well just as the Master Builder wants even though at times I do not understand and cannot figure out what the final building will look like. I do not have the blueprint. And even if it were shown to me I would not understand it, because His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I may not even live to see the building completed. That does not really matter. But I must do my 'tiny fraction' and do it very well! I think of so many poor masons back home in India, some among them child labourers who, it would seem, as soon as they are born, are already old enough to work. They help build such soaring sky-scrapers even though they themselves continue to live in stinking slums. They continue to build spacious apartments which others will inhabit. What an irony!
And as I pondered, a gilded leaf fell, dropping with such gentle grace. It had done its tiny fraction. It had played its particular part. And the Master's plan would continue to be carried out, sea-son after season, as the old made way for the new and winter's barrenness yielded to spring's bounty!