There are obstacles within us to a more loving range of encounters. The frequent longings felt in our five senses to own this, do that impressive feat, travel to some famous sight or other, are all capable of misleading us. We forget the peace so greatly needed in our hearts. We place other goals and satisfactions in its place. Jacopone, in his poem, The Five Senses, reminds himself of the flat and tasteless reality of a world in which only physical experience is taken seriously.
“Each of the five senses argues heatedly
That his is the most short-lived joy,
That his delights fade fastest away.
The first to speak is Hearing.
‘The contest is over,’ he announces.
‘The sound I just heard is no more –
It touched the ear and vanished.
You can’t deny that.’
‘Hold on,’ argues Sight, ‘I am the winner.
When I closed my eyes just now
I blotted out all shapes and colours.
How short-lived the vision!
Can there be any doubt who has won this contest?’
…. Consider the risks of the game carefully:
For the one move you’re intent on making,
You appear willing to give up your soul.
My soul, eternity lies in you,
And eternal are the joys you seek.
The senses and their delights do not last.
Climb up to God: in happiness that knows no end,
In infinite joy, He will give you fulfilment.”
Our inner flowing mirror of light and wonder has its strength through the companionship of prayer. Even if our practice of prayer is a ruin.