I am driving purposefully, signalling my intentions to cars around, moving forwards towards…
Hold on…where am I going?
I am going entirely the wrong way!
The trouble was the beginning of the journey was part of a familiar route and I’d gone into automatic pilot. I didn’t need to think about where to turn and why. So when I should have turned left I carried straight on – good for the journey I’d made many times in the past but not at all related to where I had to get to today.
Lent is a time for waking from the dream and more consciously thinking about where we are going. If I carry on this way will I come to a place I really want to get to, or am I simply going with momentum – the draw of the familiar. Which way is my life facing and what will happen if I carry on moving this way? There is a sense for many of us that we fall into a path others determine for us – be that to do with job, lifestyle or the roles we play; and there is often much that is good and true and necessary about this. But is this our all?
John of the Cross wrote of how there is an alternative gravity that draws us deep within our hearts – a gravity that those who heard Jesus responded to intuitively. This gravity draws us into relationship with One leads us into meaningful living; it helps us face our lack of wholeness and our entanglement, but gives us hope of integration and freedom.
The soul feels that she is rushing toward God
as rapidly as a falling stone when nearing its centre…
She knows, too, that she is like a sketch or the first draft of a drawing
and calls out to the one who did this sketch to finish the painting and image.
[The Spiritual Canticle, chapter 13]
Mark’s Gospel summarises Jesus’ Gospel this way:
‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news.’
Repentance carries with it this sense of stopping to consider where we are going; do I really want to continue in this way? Or is there another gravity that draws me? Repentance is about desire and direction, not achievement or arrival. Those who responded to Jesus’ call ‘followed him’; they probably had little sense of where that journey would take them but chose all the same to go where he went. They sensed in their own unease the draw of another, inward gravity.
‘Where am I going?’
And a nod to Saint David with our illustration!