Wednesday, April 02, 2008

An apple

An apple is my favourite fruit. I never get tired of eating them. There is an English proverb which says that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, that is not the reason why I eat apples, although I suppose they might have something to do with the good health I usually enjoy.

I’ve never found two apples which taste exactly the same. That’s why it’s almost an adventure to take the first bite. I like them best when the apples are cold, straight out of the fridge. That’s when they are most crisp and juicy.

Apples come in many different varieties. There are Golden Delicious, which are green and crisp and are seen on sale everywhere even though, in my opinion, they are ‘short on taste’. There are Bramleys, which are native to Britain and can grow to the size of a new baby’s head. These are very sour and are mainly used for cooking. I like to eat them raw, however, as I enjoy their flavour so much. There are red apples and green apples, sweet and sour…….they look different and they taste different.

The other day I didn’t manage to eat my lunchtime apple until the afternoon. It looked beautiful and tasted wonderful at first. As I bit into the fruit, however, I discovered that the inside, around the core, was rotten. Instead of beautiful white, crisp, fruit, it was brown and soft. It just couldn’t be eaten.

What a disappointment to discover that the beautiful-looking fruit was, in reality, rotten.

One can have a similar experience with people. If we only look at the outside, we can be betrayed by good looks, pleasant manner and fine clothes which can hide a rotten interior.

In English we have a saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. When we first pick up a book, we don’t know whether or not we will enjoy it until we start to read. It’s like the apple that looked so tasty but which was rotten inside.

If we deal with people according to the way in which they look or dress, we run the risk of finding the bad apple. That’s why God looks at the human heart. That’s why he knows what a person is really like. Sometimes the best people are not particularly attractive to the eyes, but are very attractive to our hearts.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that all the good-looking people are bad and those who are ugly are good. Far from it. There are good-looking people who are also good inside. There are ugly people who are also evil.

There was an experiment performed in England some years ago. A man dressed in rags and didn’t shave. He found that he was treated badly, was given little respect and really suffered. After some weeks, he shaved, cut his hair and put on a suit. Immediately he was given respect. People had looked at his clothes, not at his heart. Do we do the same?

Lord, teach me to look inside people, at their hearts. Teach me to see appearances as unimportant. Help me to see others with your eyes, your eyes of love. Amen.

God bless,
Sr. Janet