It all Adds UP: Cracked-door Policy

Fr Charlie McCoy, CSC

Fr. Charlie McCoy, C.S.C., University of Portland math professor, resident priest, and blogger extraordinaire, has sent us his blog for January, and it is another marvelous one about letting the Lord be a guest in our lives. Enjoy!

I haven’t yet developed the important habit of leaving the doors to my apartment and my office open or ajar when I’m around. I’m not a shy person myself, so I easily forget that the guys in the hall or the students in my classes might be too intimidated to knock if my door is closed. (Plus, it doesn’t help that my all men’s dorm doesn’t always smell so great.) But I’m slowly learning that an “open-door” policy has to have a literal quality to it if it’s going to be effective, so I’m trying my best to amend my ways.

One evening last week, I didn’t get back to my apartment until around 11 pm. I hadn’t been able to get to Mass that morning or afternoon, so I attended one of the 10 pm dorm Masses, and I chatted with some folks afterward. I wasn’t sleepy, but I was really tired, so I sat on my couch reading a little bit in order to wind down. And then I looked up and realized that, once again, I hadn’t left my door open. I started making excuses to myself as to why I needn’t bother getting up: it was pretty late; I was exhausted; it was just the FIRST WEEK of class, so who would need to see me already anyway? And just as I was about to make my internal counter-arguments, I looked more closely and noticed: I hadn’t shut my door tightly in the first place; my door was CRACKED! Excellent! Cracked was good enough, and I could sit there on my couch, a guilt-free pastoral resident.

And then, much to my amazement, someone knocked and came in at my invitation. It was a young man from another hall. I know him pretty well, so I wasn’t too surprised to see him, and he asked if we could sit down and talk. He had just gotten some news that posed a problem of a rare sort, one that both was urgent and had the possibility for long-term consequences. We certainly couldn’t solve what faced him in one conversation, but it was obvious that he was doing the right thing by talking about this with someone as soon as possible. I was grateful that he had made the effort to come to me.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, I will dine with him and he with me.” How open, how inviting, how welcoming, how hospitable do we have to be for such a Guest? Often, it seems, He is not too demanding. On this night, all He required of me was that I leave the door cracked.

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