The mop and the bucket

The young student had only been at the seminary a week or so when one day, coming down for breakfast, he noticed a spillage at the bottom of the stairs. He nimbly hopped over it and went into the dining room. 

At lunch time, after a morning of prayer and discussion about putting faith into practice, he and the other seminarians made their way to lunch. The spillage was still there – no one, he commented, had bothered to clear it up.

After lunch were sessions on practical meditation (which, to judge by the deep breathing and lolling heads was greatly enjoyed) and living the faith.

At dinner the spillage was still there. The student muttered and grumbled as once again he hopped over the spillage. Then he saw that a bucket and mop had been left nearby and breathed a sigh of relief as he realised that someone had noticed the mess and would, no doubt, clear it up later.

His muttering grew a little more fractious the next morning when he had to repeat his athletic prowess not only by avoiding the spillage but also by avoiding the bucket and mop which were now right next to it. He was so irritated that he grumbled to his fellow seminarians, who were likewise critical that it had not been cleaned up.

What the young seminarian had not realised was that the bucket and the mop where there for him to use. He noticed the problem, but instead of doing something about it he grumbled and muttered.

A good teacher – and God is the Master Teacher – does not tell us that the buckets and the mops are there for us to use, a good teacher puts the buckets and the mops before us: it is our job is first to notice them and do something with them.

Will you clean up today or will you mutter that somebody else ought to do it?

“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me”