Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.
John Main loved this image and would read it with the kind of exuberance and delight that the truly contemplative person feels about life even with all its sufferings and losses.
Someone who caught this wisdom and breathed it deeply into her own life was Rosie Lovat, the first oblate of our community, who died peacefully at home in London on Saturday night at the age of 93.
She was close to Fr John and would come to visit our fledgling community in its early Montreal years. As soon as she walked in from the airport she would take over the kitchen and fed us hungry men not only materially but by the spirit with which she shared our life. She gave herself and she radiated the gifts that came to her in return. She was a powerful, intelligent, authoritative woman yet with a sweetness and gentleness that the tragic losses of her own life seemed only to deepen. She drank from the life we shared and the teaching that infused it and seemed never unaware of the wonder it brought her.
Some years ago she gave me her diaries from this period. I read this yesterday: “Father John said Mass. I will never get used to the wonder of baking bread, saying my mantra to the rhythm of the breading – putting my whole heart into it – then, at Mass, it becomes the Body of Christ. What greater happiness could there be?”
In the end it is not talks or writings that teach us but the way life is lived and the way it is given away and received again in full measure. To concentrate on anything other than this happiness for too long is to get lost in the desert.
Laurence Freeman OSB