Interruption after Interruption

Interruption after Interruption

“This place would be OK if it weren’t for the kids” is sometimes the weary battle cry of the beleaguered school maintenance person. Or think of the receptionist who wishes the phone would stop ringing, or the retail sales person who hopes no customers show up so they can straighten things up.

And then there’s the temptation of the praying Christian to just stay in peace all day and not have to put up with real stuff like other people do. There’s a temptation in us all to pray and even live without interruption, without the cascading nuisances of daily life.

Maybe that’s why Saint Benedict in his Rule for Monasteries insists that all guests who show up unexpectedly at the monastery are to be received as Christ. “Drop everything,” he seems to say, because Jesus just showed up at the door as a guest, not as an interruption, certainly never as an intruder. Jesus our guest needs a kiss of peace, a warm welcome, and gracious hospitality.

God always interrupts us. Just when we think we’re reaching new mystical heights in prayer, somebody inconveniently knocks at our door, forcing us to scrap our idea of where God’s supposed to be. And then just as quickly, we’re led back to personal prayer, where God also likes to show up disguised as one interruption after another.

Maybe some of our interruptions happen when Jesus just needs to be greeted and made to feel welcome.




About the Author

Joe McHugh is a spiritual director, retreat leader, teacher, and writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the National Catholic Reporter. His book, "Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places" is available at He can be contacted at