Wise sayings, or proverbs, are usually written on the back of experience. ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’, ‘A stitch in time saves nine’. Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of Proverbs. In a nutshell, if we are looking for a perfect wife, husband, friend or partner – we will never find them. But if we are lucky enough to find someone who is wise, we will probably be as close as we’re going to be to the dream. So, while Wisdom is praised, and praised again as more precious than money, so too is reverence for Sacred Things. The Psalmist declares that those who move with reverence in the world, in their homes and communities rarely lack anything, and are never lonely. We can find many examples of this through all of Sacred Scripture.
Then, just when we thought that we were beginning to understand the spiritual laws that govern our lives, Jesus comes along and stands them on their head. The format of this weeks’ parable is tried and tested. Usually, after the Master has given his gifts and instructions and then departs, the first two get it wrong and the last one gets it right. When it is told in this way, everyone loves the comedy and are delighted to see the underdog winning for a change. But Jesus’ version turns the story into a tragedy. Worst still, the one who has the least going for him, gets it wrong and loses even that! What’s going on here?
Notice that the servants are not in a competition with each other. But they are in a competition with themselves. What will they do with what has been given to them? Well, first they have to understand the spiritual laws that govern their lives. God gives everything to them freely. They are then invited to give away what they have received. According to physical laws, when we give something away, we no longer have it. But according to spiritual laws, when we give it away we are astonished to see that it doubles! Now comes a new understanding of how Spirit grows and a greater responsibility to make that happen. This is what the parable calls, ‘entering into the joy of your Master.’ The Master who knows spiritual laws, calls these servants ‘good and faithful’. They have been faithful to goodness by imitating it. It was given to them, they gave it to others, and now they watch it grow and unfold.
But alas, the same law of the spirit proposes a ‘use it or lose it’ adventure. If Spirit is given away, it increases exponentially. If it is buried, it is lost. The Master, who knows the flip side of the law of happiness, takes the talent away from the one he calls, ‘wicked and lazy’. And, since it cannot stand alone, it is given to the one who has ten.
The Master calls this servant, wicked and lazy but the servant rejects this description claiming that his whole life was diminished by being afraid of everything – especially the Master! Notice, the Master does not disagree. In fact, he repeats what this servant has said. But then he draws a different conclusion. Either way, he should have acted to double the gift he had been given. His failure to understand puts him in deeper darkness with only tears of regret for company.
So, here’s the thing. We should not take God for granted and instead, nurture in our lives a healthy reverence for what we do not yet know. At the same time, we must never, ever, ever, turn God into a terrorist. Our own experience in prayer should give us a clearer view of the tenderness which enfolds us. If fear immobilises us, we need to find a new strength with the support and presence of good and faithful servants of the Lord. They have much to teach us. But perhaps the most shocking aspect of what Jesus does with this Parable is to remind us that when we lose the Icon of Gods’ Face from our hearts we can talk ourselves into spectacular loss.
It's turning colder and the days are getting shorter. It's great to be able to flick a switch to push the darkness and the cold away. We live in blessed times! But how do we switch on to the teaching of Jesus, especially when we sit with Parables like the one given for this Sunday?
The Kingdom of Heaven is first, a new way of seeing reality and a new way of living in that new reality. Disciples must be transformed away from the ordinary and have the courage to act in the world in an extraordinary way. This is not easy. Saint Paul, writing to the new community in Corinth (2:5,17) said that 'anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.' Today's Parable explores this theme but highlights the danger of missing the main event.
From the outset the Parable is strange. Usually only one person awaits the bridegroom - the bride. But here we have ten. The bridegroom is obviously Christ but who are these others who are separated as wise or foolish? The call goes out that in the darkest moment the bridegroom has arrived. Lamps must be lit so He can recognise the faces of those who are waiting for Him. But lamps don't work without oil. The foolish have none, and the wise seem to be really selfish when they tell them to 'go and buy some for yourself'. The truth about the oil is that we have to have our own. Each of us must listen to the teaching of the Christ and make it our own. We cannot fly on the ticket of anyone else. Each person’s lamp must produce its own wattage.
In the writings of the early Christians, Isaac of Nineveh wrote, " There is a Love like a small lamp, fed by oil, which goes out when the oil is ended; or like a rain-fed stream which goes dry, when rain no longer feeds it. But there is a love, like a spring gushing from the earth, never to be exhausted". The wise virgins are in touch with this river. So their oil is continuously replenished and not consumed. The foolish have not found it yet. They live by buying and selling. They keep looking outside of themselves for what can only be found within. Worse still, right to the end, the foolish think that it is Jesus, implored as Lord, who will open the door for them. They have not understood that the Kingdom of God has been given to them and they can only open the door by themselves. It is the lamp of their new vision and the oil of Love which will open the door. The Parable insists that must grow up, stand on our own feet and do the will of the Father for ourselves. Even the disciples who claim to have healed, prophesied and cast out devils 'in Jesus name' (Matt,7:21-23) are told it is not enough. The Parable concludes with a caution that we must stay awake to this truth. Every breath we take is the day or the hour when He might come.
Gandhi once said, "My life is my message". St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel, but use words only when necessary". The last words of Buddha to his followers was, " Be a light unto yourself". Martin Luther cautioned, "You are going to die alone, you better believe alone". Silesius asked, "What good if Gabriel hails the virgin and does not hail me?" This is the delicate balance needed to be a disciple of Jesus. On the one hand we proclaim from the heart that "He is Lord", yet worshipping Him from afar with extravagant praise and petition is not enough.
We cannot ride Him as if he was a horse. He must be invited to take
up residence in our hearts. Allowed to build us up from the
inside. To confirm us a beloved daughters and sons of God and as
sisters and brothers all who really, really care for each other. This is
how the Divine pleasure flows through us. Perhaps that is why Saint
Paul wrote to the Galatians, "it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ
living in me". (Gal:2,20). The Parable of the Ten Virgins alerts us to
the situation where we might know everything about Him, except the
one thing necessary. But if we awaken to the truth. If we take His Truth to heart. The door opens. We are like a person locked in a room, calling to be freed, who realises we had the key all the time
This weekend, let us joyfully unite ourselves with all people of good will and remember the special bond of love we have with our sisters and brothers in the Diocese of Bamenda.
If we are doing something that makes us miserable we need to stop doing it. Finding joy in ourselves and in our lives, is the first call of the Gospel. We have to know that the ‘yoke’ of the Gospel is easy. Its burden light. In Hinduism there is a saying “Some carry Scripture the way a donkey carries sandalwood. They know the burden but not the fragrance”. Some people, religious and otherwise, love making rules for everyone else to live by. Along the way, they can be inclined to make exceptions for themselves. Those who make laws often think they are above them!
Their ambition, of course, is to have increased status. In today’s Gospel, the poor old Pharisees parade their piety to promote themselves. If you didn’t know, Phylacteries are long boxes containing sacred texts. Although these sacred texts are meant to be written on the heart, to become their eyes of the heart, they carefully keep the word of God at arm’s length. They abandon love of God and of their neighbour in favour of Love for themselves and the honours they can manipulate others into giving them.
Jesus offers His disciples and new vision of community, freed from this oppressive hierarchical structure. The new humanity will have only one Father and one Teacher or Master and will abandon the use of these titles for one another. The vision is of a new community where everyone is first. A community that thrives on the flow of
Grace where all are receiving from God and giving to one another. In the flow of abundance, the striving for status, recognition and exemption will have less power. This is the exact opposite of their experience with the Pharisees. But the question still remains if the disciples of Jesus have ever actually done anything better than the Pharisees in today’s Gospel. Given the history of the Church, and our own personal experience, it looks as if we are doomed to repeat the old mistakes unless we try something new.
No one practices what they preach. We can have a clear vision of what is possible. But when we try to live it out, we bump into ourselves, our old habits, our egos and secular social pressures. The Sufi teacher, Pir Vilayat Khan has pointed out that the holiest teacher can fall from Grace when doing their annual tax return! So, practicing what we preach involves what Joh Sobrino has called, ‘an endless openness to conversion’. This need for conversion does not mean we are failing. It comes with the territory of following something large enough for us
to betray. So, when we speak of a new vision for community and a new humanity to serve that vision, we should be wise enough to keep the sackcloth and ashes within reach and our eye on the nearest confessional.
The Antiques Road Show is brilliant. Trying to guess the current value of something old is great fun in my house. It's funny how we seem to like old things. From a global perspective, it sometimes seems that we defend, shelter and protect them with more care than we have for the people living with us. The same is true of the 'deposit of faith'. We love and cherish and protect it. Any talk that God may be revising ancient agreements is suspect. The guardians of truth don't like new claims. The big stuff happened long ago and far away. With this mindset, the arrival of an invitation to a wedding feast where God is about to do something new, might not be well received.
The Kingdom of Heaven is an experience. A special moment has arrived and we are invited to be part of it. Something never seen before is unfolding before our eyes. God is here and we find on our doorstep and invitation to a wedding feast. The religious leaders politely refuse to go. Some of them not so politely! Now, a select guest list becomes indiscriminate. The main roads carry universal traffic. There is no ethnic, gender, age or moral requirement. The wedding of the Son is a beggar’s feast. A gathering of those who accept the invitation. But a great surprise awaits them. They were not invited to witness a wedding but to be married to the Son. The garment they wear signals their readiness to understand and act on the teachings of Jesus. They must marry the revelation and bear the children of Justice, Compassion and Love in the world. If they do not do this, they are reduced to silence. They cannot remain at the feast for this is a wedding only for those who want to be married.
A story that began as a cautionary tale to the leadership of Israel now ends as one to us. Belonging is important but it is only the first step. Each one has to take seriously the task of growing in our understanding of the teachings of Jesus. Hearing is a beginning but just hearing is a fatal end. Hearing must be followed by understanding and understanding must be followed by action. As Jesus himself states in John 13:17 ' If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.'
In the end it comes to this. The Beloved Son of God asks us to marry him. As in all such moments, timing is crucial. The moment to go deeper, the moment to touch the heart of God, the moment to
fall in love, comes to different people at different times. Some are drawn when they are very young, some in midlife, some in older age. Some arrive at the wedding on the back of a huge failure, some
in gratitude for some blessing. Some come only after death has knocked at their door and taken away someone who shared their table. It would be too easy to say that eventually everyone will find their wedding garment. But it would be too cynical to say that some might not. We are all Christians but the timetable of our lives is not the same. If home is a place that when you go they have to take you in, the Christian community is a place that welcomes you when you are ready for more.
I don't know about you, but for me the story of the wedding feast is the story of an open invitation, and this is more important pastorally than the wedding garment. Saint Matthew, lover of dual endings might not agree. But it is clear that all are invited. Good and bad alike. But good and bad are strange designations. What do they mean to those who know themselves well? Still, the Beloved Son of God finds us desirable. Even if we did not come with a wedding garment, the groom has one for us and He has chosen it with great love.
This week’s Parable (Matt:21: 33-46) targets those who like to have power over others. Those who do, open themselves to many temptations. One can quickly switch from being a guardian to becoming an owner, from being a humble servant to being a person who likes to make their authority hurt. Removed from the world of ordinary people, they believe they are above criticism. They silence anyone who calls them to account for their behaviour. They reject anyone who reminds them that only God has authority, and laugh at
the idea that they will be judged for their cruelty.
Our Parable tells us that God has already done all the hard work. Couldn't have done more as far as Isaiah (5,4) was concerned. The problem is with the tenants. Instead of producing the new wine, they waste their energy on violence. A violence which escalates each time they think they have got away with it. Believing they can still be persuaded, God sends
His Beloved Son.
But instead of seizing this as an opportunity for repentance, their true nature is unwittingly revealed. They want it all for themselves. In reality, they have no love for God in them. They do not want communion but exclusion, and the only way to get that is to obliterate the Beloved Son of God. They avoid with a passion the very thing that could save them! It was a high risk strategy that cost them everything. It always does in these cases.
Wanting it all is not a sensible desire. Neither is the desire to have power over others or seek to injure them. But we know it goes on all the time, globally, nationally, locally, in our families and even in our parish community. It is a greedy sin which is born out of imagining that we own God and can do what we like with His gifts to us. Sadly, and usually too late, people like this find that God has moved elsewhere. When people find they are having problems with prayer, it's usually because there is some dark sin in their hearts, something that needs to lean more towards compassion in their lives.
Here is another mini Parable on this theme:
The water of life, wishing to make itself known on the face of the earth bubbled up in an artesian well and flowed without effort or limit. People and animals came to drink of this refreshing water, and were nourished by it, since it was so clean and pure and invigorating. But some humans were not content to leave things in this idyllic state. Gradually they began to build fences around the well, charge admission, claim ownership of the land around it, make elaborate laws as to who could come to the well and who couldn't, and put locks on the gates. Soon the well was the property of a powerful elite.
The water became angry and offended. It stopped flowing and began to bubble up in another place. The people who owned the property around the first well were so engrossed in their power systems and ownership that they didn't notice that the water had vanished. So they continued selling the nonexistent water and few people noticed that the power was gone. But some searched with great courage and longing and found the new artesian well. Soon that well was under the control of the elite and the same fate overtook it. The spring took itself to another place and will always do so till the end of time.
We are co-workers in Gods vineyard. When we start wanting it all, we inherit nothing
Jesus speaks to the heart of the disciple and to the community of disciples He has chosen. To them He has given an amazing gift - the gift of working with Him to bring to birth a new humanity and a new community. They sit at His feet, and He clearly hopes that they will grow to be like Him. They think they want the same until a Parable pulls the carpet out from under their feet. It only does this because there is a question, like the elephant in the room, that is waiting to be answered. 'What's in it for me?'
In extravagant prose, Jesus assures His disciples that if they choose to do God's work it will bring them to the pinnacle of human fulfilment. Every sacrifice they make will be restored to them a hundred times over and eternal life will flow into them. If they are worried about a poor pay-off, Jesus overwhelms them with a vision of abundance. But first they have to listen to and try to understand the Parable.
Kingdom workers are like people on a zero hours contract. They are vulnerable. They have no claim on their employer. The only agreement on the table is that when they awaken each day, they do not waste the gift of a new day in idleness. God will give them all that they need for the day. It will be enough for those who want to continue to rely on Gods' goodness. Enthroned in the Lord's Prayer is the certainty that God will not give more or less than is needed for the day. "Give us this day our daily bread ....". It is assumed that they are friends of the Landowner and have grasped the truth about God that Jesus is trying to teach them. That when we 'seek first the Kingdom' (Matthew 6,33) and pray to follow God's will (Matthew 6,10) there is no need to ask for what we need. Our Father already knows, and gives what is needed, (Matthew 6,8;32-33) to those who work in the vineyard. But the gift of daily bread bears no relation to the amount of work done. It flows out of the generous heart of God, who is now vulnerable to an accusation of being unfair.
This feeling of unfairness is rooted in a social construct everyone takes for granted. More work=More pay. In this version of reality, I am the centre of the universe and my job is to promote myself and my own well-being. If I am denied this possibility I am entitled to have a good old moan. But the Parable puts God at the centre of the Universe and we are invited to stretch high enough to see the sacred point of view. Only here can we begin to relish the work that is being done. We are, to paraphrase Gerard Manley Hopkins, "burnished in use". We no longer live in the envious world of comparisons, but in the
overflowing world of Gods Generosity. In this world, God gives us good eyes to better see. These eyes connect us to our soul and to the expansive works of the Spirit. Seduced, the labourers flow like liquid light, releasing Grace everywhere they go
It might look as if Peter is asking a question about Forgiving. But he is really asking when it is okay to strike back. Rather generously, when most people would stop at two, Peter offers seven chances. Jesus evokes the horror story from Genesis 4,23-24 where Lamech boasts, 'I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Lamech seventy-seven fold'. Without forgiveness there is an escalation of violence. Violence will only stop where forgiveness is present. Jesus wants us to be unremittingly
committed to forgiveness.
Today's Parable is stunning. It is the story of a king (God) and a servant (sinner) who is mercifully forgiven. The servant has made a "huge" mistake which, when found out cannot be repaid. This mistake will cost him, and all those he loves, everything. When you're about to lose everything, you will promise anything. He is on his knees and his back is against the wall. He pleads for justice and for time, when suddenly Compassion appears. Mercy comes as a shock and, when it arrives from the future, it changes everything. The servant is suddenly in the first day of the rest of his life. The classic forgiven sinner.
Of course, Jesus wants all of us to see ourselves as this servant. We have sold ourselves into slavery and cannot get out. We say that all we need is more time when the truth is that no time will be enough. We think we can sort ourselves out but our cleverness betrays us. We need the new start and it can only happen by opening our heart to the Heart of God from where mercy flows. He can't believe his luck and he should be filled with joy .......
But then a terrible thing happens. Oh no! The servant still sees himself as a creditor. His pleads for himself but continues to be violent to others. He cannot see, hear or feel himself in his brother, even when he uses the same words! So he throttles him, consigns him to bondage, destroys his family and puts him in a place where he can never make the situation better.
Then a startling thing happens! The Kings mercy vanishes. It recedes back into him, leaving the man with all the consequences of his huge mistake. Divine Mercy may be freely given but if it is not passed on it ceases to be effective in the lives of those who have received it. It seems that for Jesus, Divine Forgiveness and human forgiveness are movements in the same dance.
So, when Peter asks Jesus when it is okay to strike back, the answer is clear. We can only live if we have the mercy and forgiveness of God. Never, Never, Never, Ever forget that! The more we show mercy, the more we will receive it. The more we fail to show mercy the more it will recede. Dear Peter, if you understand this, you will never ask again, "How many times?" We are all bound by our past failures until a future is gifted to us. But all is lost the moment we put our hands around the throat of someone who is in debt to us. All is lost, and we are back in a world of revenge, reprisal and retaliation.
If you don't believe this, just watch the news!
When we are in an empty room, it is easy to convince ourselves that we are a loving person. But when that room begins to fill with other people, we may have to humbly admit that we are not as loving as we thought we were! Worst still, when we listen to the teaching of Jesus, it begins to dawn on us that He is not talking about ‘A Hollywood Romance’. The Love which Jesus delivers with such Passion is the Love which supports us to 'lay down our life' for friends and our enemies.
In the meantime, Jesus teaches and gives a wonderful example of the need for us to be committed to the work of reconciliation. Relationships in families, in the workplace, in schools, in neighbourhoods, in parishes and in our nation are fragile. They can and they do break easily. The moral imperative to keep working for Peace comes with a menu. Follow the suggested steps and it just might be possible to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Step One: seek a meeting with the person who has wounded you. If the relationship is restored, no need to go the step two. If not, Step Two: invite witnesses, who have a history of being able to mend broken things, to help sort out the truth of what really happened. If this doesn't work go to Step 3: bring in more people to support the search for truth and reconciliation. If this does not work, move to Step Four: where the offender is seen as someone who needs missionary work in order to become a full member of the community once more.
The Teacher reminds the disciples that they are the mediators between earth and heaven. They are not to model their behaviour on those who exclude and alienate others. What we let go of and what we bind to ourselves is dictated by our allegiance to heaven. It is our spiritual identity which informs our actions. Heavens' agenda insists that the new humanity not only has the freedom and the strength to find new ways to make peace, but the power to make heaven come to earth. This happens when those who gather, in twos', or threes', tens or hundreds, gather around more than what has hurt them. When we gather in the name of Jesus, He is with and for all who are gathered. He is in the heart of all, breaking down the walls that separate and restoring the flow of the Love which loves all that exists.
We all need to learn how to work through conflict. We all need the courage to do it. When we are struggling to find our lion heart, the temptation is to hand the problem over to the 'higher ups'. When we are in the wrong, we need to have the ability to listen to what other people are telling us about ourselves. To listen without becoming overly defensive or overly protective of our need to be right all the time. Honest self-examination is worth much more than we know. Listening attentively protects us from rigid self-defence and from flippant apologies that are meaningless.
For Saint Matthew, reconciliation is a spiritual activity. Left to ourselves, hurt spirals beyond our control. But when we ask Jesus, in the power of the Spirit for help, we are creating a new art form. Human skill is woven by the spirit into a new tapestry.
It looks like the suffering and death of Jesus will be the work of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Still, Jesus must go, must suffer, must be killed and must be raised from death. All Peter can hear is the first bit, so he takes Jesus aside to talk some sense into him. He wants God to forbid the suffering and death of Jesus. The Lord turns. The rock on which the New Humanity is to be built now looks like a stumbling block. Jesus speaks to Peter, taking back the role of leader that Peter has just stolen. Peter must submit. He must set aside ordinary thinking and reach for higher ground. To do this, Peter will have to deny himself and his desire to avoid suffering and loss at any cost. He must make space in his panic for what he cannot hear - Resurrection. Disciples are to take up the cross gladly. If they do this, it will be a path of transformation for others and the doorway to resurrection for themselves.
Jesus hopes they will have the wisdom to see that when they are following Him, what looks like loss is really gain. Nothing the world has to offer can come close to the Kingdom of Heaven. They cannot be traded. And, at the end of time, the Son of God will come and repay everyone in accordance with how they have responded to His offer of a new humanity. The whole scene - the Father's Glory, the Son of Man, the Angels, the gathering of all time and space - is an invitation to see how our small contribution has been well received. The end of history judges all history and the end of history belongs only to the Son of Man and the new humanity who follow Him.
It is a sad fact of life that those who stand up get knocked down. A police officer reports corruption in his team and is shunned for the rest of his working life. A woman reports accounting 'inaccuracies' in her office. She is thanked and made redundant a few weeks later. Criticism and cover up go hand in hand. And Jesus was a fierce critic of the hypocrisy of many so called religious leaders. They were taken up with their own importance, loving the trappings of their status rather than its substance. They loved money, elaborate robes, seats at the top table, ego massages in the town centre and being called teachers. They polished the outside of the cup. They kept people from the knowledge that would help them. They laid burdens on others and enjoyed watching them stumble and fall. Jesus saw the organisational abuse and he named it. When He did this he was not naive. He knows that those who have power over others, destroy those who question them.
Anyone who takes a stand knows that there will be reprisals. So why do people continue to criticise this kind of wrong doing? Some say, 'I just couldn't let it go on.' Others say, 'I couldn't live with myself if I kept quiet any longer.' But whatever the reason for the critique, it is because the right thing means so much for them. And in the Gospel, the deeper life of God depends on the voice of prophets. Every time the 'Cross' is taken up, a double revelation unfolds. God's Love is easier to see, as is the resistance of those who stand against it. The Cross is the symbol of the stand-off between divine Love and Human sin.
And Jesus must take you and me aside to explain to us why this is necessary. Given who God is and who we are, it cannot be any other way. And as Jesus talks to us about the need to take up our cross and follow Him, He must keep saying the word we cannot hear - the word that was lost in the sound of our hearts pounding and our feet running from suffering and death. The sacred word. The most sacred word of all. Resurrection
This is a story about the Transfiguration of Jesus. More than that it is a story about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. An event unfolds on top of a mountain, but what is at stake is what is unfolding on the ground below. The disciples hear the voice of God asking them to Listen to the words of His Beloved Son. His word, is to become their only treasure. What must be heard is the sound of Love. Because when Moses and Elijah disappear only Jesus is left to teach us what we must know. He is the one who will guide us away from fear and into love.
But for now, seasoned beginners are called to silence. They are not to share yet what they have experienced when they were touched by God. What He has to tell them can be difficult to understand, and when understood, even more difficult to follow. This is especially true of His impending suffering, death and resurrection. They are granted this vision so that they will begin to dismantle their inner resistance to the vulnerability of God.
Which brings us to the question of our own vulnerability. Life is tough. It isn't that we do not have great moments of love and joy and laughter in our lives. But the hurt can often hit us from the inside. The demands of Love, pulling us out of our favourite chair seem endless. We seem to be continually having to face mental, emotional, physical and spiritual challenges.
When this happens we need to make a special effort to stay on top of things. Gearing up for the challenge is needed because we know that what is not faced up to falls apart. Without the energy to renew the law of 'winddown' takes over. Relationships become dull and predictable, goals remain unmet, weeds grow in the garden and sagebrush rolls through ghost towns. Even more, when we are committed to Compassion and to easing the suffering of others we have to struggle not to give up or ignore them. When we are committed to Peace and meet division and hostility we must find way to engage that doesn't make things worse. When we value honesty
and integrity and face situations of corruption, it isn't easy to walk the pathways of truth. Life is difficult when we try to bring to it all that is best in us. It takes continual blood, sweat and tears to infuse the world with Love and Mercy. Virtue is hard work!
This is why we need to ponder the Transfiguration every day. This moment of illumination which will continue to light the way before us. When we sink our hearts deep into the contemplative well, it is easier to rise without fear and listen to Him, the wind suddenly shifts direction - it is no longer in our face but at our back.
The Litmus test of course is not to try and stay on top of the mountain but to check that we are headed in the direction of Jerusalem with Him. I believe it was William Vanstone who wrote,
"Therefore, He who Thee reveals, hangs O Father on that tree
helpless, and the nails and thorns tell of what Thy Love must be.
Thou art God, no monarch thou, enthroned in easy state to reign.
Thou art God, whose arms of Love, aching, spent the world sustain."
CATHOLIC PARISH OF ST JOSEPH & ST MARGARET CLITHEROW
St Joseph’s Church. 39 Braccan Walk, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1BE (Directions)
Tel: 01344 425729
South Berkshire Pastoral Area
The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871
St Joseph’s Church. 39 Braccan Walk, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1BE (Directions)
Tel: 01344 425729
South Berkshire Pastoral Area
The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871