In everything we do, every decision we make, there is a reason why, a deep motivation. As a quick followup on last week's post, here's another scenario that might help explain:
Just 2 weeks ago I traveled in train from Rome to Termini. I happened to be taking the same train with a visiting student. We stowed our luggage above our heads, sat opposite each other and chatted as we looked out the window at Rome rolling by.
A guy passing by suddenly threw his keys on the floor. He was dirty. Obviously a foreigner from his accent: "My keys, my keys - pick them up for me." No please, no look-in-the-eye smile, nothing nice. I calmly pressed my hand to my wallet and eyed my bag. I had everything - FAIL! - he didn't steal a thing. Then I bent down and handed him his keys. He mumbled something inaudible and stumbled on.
I explained to the young man across from me how these thieves function, how they try to distract you and then grab your wallet or iPhone. 10 minutes later we arrived at the station. We both stood up. Then the student gasped... "Hey, where's my bag?"
Only afterwards, while going through my head what could have happened had I noticed the second inconspicuous passenger behind us, in that moment when the keys were returned to their owner. How he stood up calmly and grabbed "his" -the student's- bag. I don't know what I would have done. Would I have attacked? Rearranged his face? Knocked him to the ground? Firmly grabbed the bag without voice or action? idk... In fact, I'll never know.
However, the scenario definitely gave me the opportunity to DECIDE what I would do in the future. What the most Christian reaction would have been based on the Gospel principle: "Love your enemies."
We are constantly faced with conflicting situations in life. Sometimes we act; at times we just react. At the root of these decisions, however, what guides us are our deep motivations: "I'm a Christian." "Love is always the right answer." Or perhaps wrong motivations: "My comfort is a right no one can touch." "My right to property is more important than someone else's right to life."
It's helpful AFTER the fact, to review the motivations that moved us to act morally and -in a reflective, prayerful manner- decide for the future to live according to the Gospel.