Monday, 7 June 2010


Locked in their own world...Bouncer the Bunny and Tina the Teenager. This was at Spode Conference Centre in the Staffordshire countryside. There we had a group of teenagers, whom we were trying to help to prepare for 'life after school.' They were to think what it would mean for them to be young adult Christians.

In the field we had a pet rabbit, for which I'd built a hutch and run. People of every age loved him. And many of them would talk to him -nothing unusual about that. Most of us talk to our pets, and they often listen, without understanding what we are saying.

But on one occasion I noticed something special. A young girl was talking earnestly to Bouncer, the rabbit. Later she told me how much it had helped to off-load her problems onto the rabbit, which would listen attentively to her gentle voice. Not that she expected Bouncer to provide answers, but to be a good listener. She knew that she could trust the rabbit not to repeat anything she said, however shocking that might have been.

And long ago a fellow Dominican told me he had found it more helpful to talk to the cows in the field than to his student master! The problem was not a lack of trust, but of their being on different wave lengths. Any way, he wasn't looking for answers, but for a good, placid, non- judgemental listener -such as the cow.

There are times when all of us need someone on whom we can unload our troubles, and with whom we can let off steam. Hopefully we have a good friend, whose discretion we can trust. We need to be certain that the unguarded remark, which we all make, will go no further.

Sadly there's a long and sordid tradition of the betrayal of trust, epitomized by Judas. The tabloids thrive on those who are prepared to gain some one's trust and then 'kiss and tell' or usually, 'kiss and sell.' Entrapment and betrayal is the name of the game.

Obviously there are times when it's necessary to infiltrate criminal or terrorist gangs in order to prevent them from harming others. But there must be serious grounds for winning and then betraying such trust.

The Scriptures urge us to entrust our troubles to the Lord, since He cares for us, (cf. 1Peter 5. 7). He knows us through and through -better than we know ourselves -and yet He still loves us. There's absolutely nothing we can tell God that He doesn't already know. He is utterly discreet, and like Bouncer, the rabbit, won't betray the trust we place in Him.

Bouncer the Bunny and Tina the teenager have brought me to realize how much I need to meet God by trusting Him sufficiently to be absolutely honest with Him when I pray. I know He will never betray my trust. I also realize that I can never have an honest relationship with Him, if I'm suspicious, evasive and, therefore, dishonest with Him. I also realize that I am called to be like God, in sharing His trustworthiness -never betraying those who confide in me. If I were to do so, I would forfeit the right to expect anyone to trust me again.

Although most us of enjoy hearing gossip, we must realise that it's perpetrators are just as likely to talk maliciously behind our backs as they do behind other people's. If we had any sense we would never confide in such gossips, who would be sure to make our private lives public. Similarly no one would trust any of us if we had the reputation of being gossips. Most of us have probably been harmed by people we trusted gossiping about our faults and failings. And at times we have probably had loose tongues, which have caused us to be indiscreet.

But we mustn't become cynical and refuse to trust anyone, even if we have been hurt. After all Jesus was prepared to entrust the continuation of His mission to the very people who had deserted or disowned Him in His greatest need. Hopefully all of us have friends or relatives in whom we can confide without fear of betrayal. If so, they reflect the trustworthiness of God -and in it's own way, so did Bouncer.

I thank Tina, talking to a rabbit, for showing me how to meet God in total honesty and trust. And I'm grateful to Bouncer, the rabbit,for teaching me that other people need and expect me to be a good, trustworthy and discreet listener -just like God, or even a rabbit or cow!

Isidore O.P.

Next week Fr. Peter will reflect on meeting God through "Papillon! Papillon!"

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