Are We Writing Like Worker Ants or Children of God?

wonder, universe, creation, ponder, cancer

wonder, universe, creation, ponder

The secular world desperately needs to hear the perspective of Catholics on pressing issues, especially on the sanctity of human life. However most religious authors write in a small niche, read mainly by fellow Catholics and perhaps a few other critics we would secretly love to block. An amusing analogy came to me the other day which clarifies this dilemma.

Consider the life of an ant, not a queen ant, a worker ant.

Worker ants scurry about, hauling loads of food that are bigger than they are. They are completely oblivious to the world around them, fixated solely on their own tiny society. Often this narrow viewpoint leads to disastrous results, with whole colonies wiped out of existence when the macrocosm surrounding them crashes into their little world.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for people to communicate with an ant, or to warn an ant of danger. Any offer of help frightens him because an ant perceives anything which intrudes into his microcosm as a threat. I cannot help an ant because I cannot communicate with him.

Much of my religious life resembles the routine of an ant.

I run around busy with tasks, keeping  my nose to the proverbial grindstone, oblivious to the realities of the rest of human society. Never mind the universe or even the God whom I declare as my Lord. I have my routine; I rush to attend mass, read spiritual books,  squeeze in prayer and fulfill all the duties of the moment,  including writing about my tiny microcosm.

When secular society, the wider Body of Christ or  even the Holy Spirit Himself, tries to break through to warn, change or help me, I panic, feel threatened and run away, returning to labour in my little world where I feel safe. My earnest striving is counter productive because it isolates me from larger realities that surround me. Most importantly, my striving isolates me from the work of the Holy Spirit within me because I am in control.

Fortunately, God is better at communicating with me than I am at communicating with ants. He only needs a sliver of an opening in my heart, a quick glance in His direction, or a fleeting thought to make a connection with me. In fact, God became one with all of us, in a sense he became the equivalent of an ant, so He could speak, touch, love and become visible to”ants”on earth.

Living the Life of a Child of God

Thank God for Christ, because He offers an easy way out of ant prison.  As Catholics, we must break out of our microcosm and listen to the rumblings in the world and in wider the Body of Christ. Most of all, we are invited to become in sync with God and what He wants to do through and in us.
The answer to our dilemma is the opposite of what you might think. Relax. Give up striving. Surrender to His love and let it saturate every cell of your body. Then simply let His love flow through you. It ends up being a long journey to such carefree lifestyle because pride and ego get in the way. It is so simple that it seems complicated to our adult, logical minds.
No wonder Jesus says,
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
And in even stronger terms,
“I assure you,” He said, ‘unless you are converted and become like children, , you will never get into the kingdom from heaven…’” Matthew 18:4

A relationship to the living God is child’s play and is not dependent on us acting like a worker ant.

Listen to this exchange between my young children:

One afternoon, I was making dinner, standing at the counter with my back to our three youngest children. Grace and Daniel were lounging around the kitchen table, with three-year-old Rebecca perched like a little elf on a high stool, happily swinging her legs.

Simply making conversation, Grace who was eight, asked Rebecca,“ Whose your favorite, mum or dad?”

Rebecca replied,”Both!”

Still facing the counter, I looked over my shoulder and intruded on their conversation, I commented,“Smart answer, Rebecca.”

Rebecca was not done, though,“But she’s not my real mum, Mary is.”

Grace rolled her eyes, slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand and said incredulously,“Where does she get this stuff?”

I tried to explain as simply as I could,“Well, the Holy Spirit is in her heart and she listens to His voice.”

Rebecca jumped right back into the discussion and chanted in a sing-song, lilting voice,“That’s right. God the Father in my heart. Baby Jesus in my heart. Holy Spirit in my heart. Mother Mary in my heart but I still like mum and dad the best!”

Grace rolled her eyes and plunked her head down on the table with a loud sigh,“Where does she get this stuff?”

I just laughed.

A few weeks later, as I crouched down to tie Rebecca’s shoelace,  she picked up the small gold cross I wore around my neck and said,“This is the cross of Jesus and the glory of God shines all around it.”

Grace rolled her eyes again, slapped her forehead and asked,“Where does she get this stuff?

If adults received this sort of “stuff” in prayer, they would consider it a rare gift of profound revelation.  Yet this child of three simply received such infused contemplative insights with ease, right from the source of all truth because she was open and relaxed in the presence of God. Children are not yet conditioned to strive and scurry around like worker ants.

If I want to to do something about world peace, abortion and the state of the Church by writing articles which will touch hearts and move secular mountains, then it is time to stop acting like a worker ant and time to start writing like a child of God who only writes what her Heavenly Father tells her to write.


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5 thoughts on “Are We Writing Like Worker Ants or Children of God?”

  1. Thank you for this insightful essay.

    If we recognize the oncoming Renaissance, perhaps we can write essays of stories that anticipate how the rebirth will happen, as opposed to simply restating where we have come from and where we are now.

    It reminds me of Father John Dunne’s invitation in his book “The Way of All the Earth” : “An invitation to cross over to the great Eastern religions — and to come back to one’s own tradition with new insight.” When I first read it, I was a bit fearful, but he was an excellent guide.

    I want to read stories of those who have passed over to other points of view and returned to our Catholicism with new awareness of its truth, beauty, and goodness.

    “Is a religion coming to birth in our time?” Dunne asks. Is a new understanding of our Catholic religion coming to birth in our own lives?

    Quite an invitation in view of our smaller and smaller world with such access to other cultures and religions over the Internet, especially when we have the opportunity to communicate so easily with people from all over the world.

    Quite a profound question since religion is being challenged by momentous secular forces and new forms of apparently “religious” terrorism. Is the new religion ready to entreat for peace or must there be fighting?

    In his book Dunne presents his best thoughts on passing over to another view to enhance one’s insight into one’s own tradition. In the process, he takes his readers on a journey with God, as we observe those who turn poetry into truth and those who turn truth into poetry.

    Keep up the good, reflective work, Melanie. Tell us more of your stories.

    1. melanie jean juneau

      thank you for this link- Dunne sounds fascinating. Merton once said believers must grow up and let go of childish concepts of God as a man in a beard in the sky because atheists see through. A common ground for discussion with atheists is in the aphoristic, contemplative tradition because in the ground of our being, believer or not, is a sense of depth, a connection to the Unseen, the Unknown

  2. Dear Melanie-You are so spot on with this, and you are so NOT a mere worker ant. Thank you. I say something from the old Mass when I begin to write anything which you may want to consider, making three signs of the cross on forehead, lips and heart: “The Lord be in my mind, on my lips,and in my heart so that I may well and properly proclaim the Gospel.” Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

    1. melanie jean juneau

      YES.. thanks for my new prayer….”when I begin to write anything which you may want to consider, making three signs of the cross on forehead, lips and heart: “The Lord be in my mind, on my lips,and in my heart so that I may well and properly proclaim the Gospel.”

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