A few days after our return from Wales, we met a friend after Mass. He described how he comes to Church most days: I pray and rest, pray and rest, pray and rest.
No need to cross two Kingdoms to do that! But he follows the advice we were given yesterday:
Let’s be still, our silence marked by the waves, the birds, the feet walking by. And not worry about ‘distractions’!
And here’s support for our friend’s prayer and rest policy from Pope Francis. The i news paper (2/11/17) reports him as saying prayer should make Christians feel like going to sleep in their father’s arms. He even admits to going to sleep when praying, as St Therese did.
But does he also drop off during long sermons?
I love watching for sunrises
I mean surprises
proclaiming without fanfare that
we are not selfish
pre-determined muddles but have
at least a sky’s worth
of space in us just waiting for
that warm sunrise of
empathy and so here is one
Mister Darwin sir
fossils prove Neandertals cared
for the weakest ones
in their tribe and didn’t leave them
to die oh surprise
for love loved the most fragile and
not just the fittest
and survives from barely biped
to barely upright
humans God I love sunrises
Sister Johanna sees more sunrises than most of us. If I got up as early as she does, with a ladder and some glasses I could see to Minster marshes – if it wasn’t for the houses in between. Let’s enjoy her sharing the blessings of sunrise. An appropriate image to ponder when we have the feast of Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth tomorrow, a truly ‘warm sunrise of empathy’ and a neat challenge to Darwin.
Altar Cross, St Mary Magdalene, Davington, Kent. MMB
I wrote in the first blog in this series (December 13th, 2015) that we might need a stimulus from outside to grow our childish faith to adulthood as our bodies and minds mature. Therese showed us that. (December 30th, 2015) But we have to be open to growth for it to happen properly. Normally teenagers grow physically into adults without having to think about it, though some will diet to control or arrest the process. Great distress may be caused to themselves and others.
It can be all too easy to feel uncomfortable in one’s own skin if it is spotty or showing ribs or else not showing ribs. Growing in faith can be subject to similar pressures and embarrassments.
But as Pope Francis said on January 8th:
When we have something in our hearts and we want to ask the Lord forgiveness, it is he who awaits us to give forgiveness. This Year of Mercy is also a bit like this: We know that the Lord is waiting for us, each one of us. Why? To embrace us; nothing more. To tell us: ‘Son, daughter, I love you. I let my son be crucified for you; this is the price of my love.’ This is the gift of love.
God will do the same that he did with the prodigal son who spent all his money on vices: He will not let you finish your speech, he will silence you with a hug. The embrace of the love of God.
May we learn to accept and return that embrace from whomsoever God uses to show us his love. And may we be ready for the next person who needs the embrace of a real hug or else a cup of tea or even a smile.