Recognise within yourself a conscious desire to know God (Fr John)

Each day in Lent, you are receiving through the Parish Email – a Lenten gift.  On Wednesday you received a rather long poem written by T.S Elliot entitled ‘Ash-Wednesday’.   It is Eliot’s “conversion poem,” written at the time that he formally declared himself to the Anglican church, into which he was baptised and confirmed in 1928.

Eliot’s poem is not an ecstasy, or a mystical vision – it does not dramatize an encounter with the divine. Rather, ‘Ash-Wednesday’ is a working out of the tension between matter and spirit and a contemplation on the conscious choice for Elliot and for us the human to pursue God. And this is our purpose in Lent, to have a conscious desire to pursue, to journey with and into God.

In the 5th section, there is an uncomfortable insight and truthfulness for us to ponder.  Elliot writes:

Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence…

Remember that ‘Word’, is the word made flesh.  That word is Christ, the person of God manifest amongst us in our world.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence…

It seems even for us, the wilderness where Jesus is propelled into and where we might find ourselves is a noise filled place where our voice of insecurity and need crams out God’s voice of purpose and our lives wander in fear of how we will exit that place of trial and find our homeland, a place of settlement a place of delight.

The question this day is simple. Where this Lent, where in this season of Lent is the place of calm for you? And, where in you will the word of God which has become flesh and now word again: where shall that word be heard?  Where will it resound, where will it settle and where will it make itself known.

Covid-19 has slowed us down.  But Lent asks us to stop! To Stop! and ponder the word and the purpose of God in our lives. Not just put the brakes on a little, but to stop.

The invitation this Lent is for us to find times to stop and listen for his voice, to read his word, be deliberate in prayer, and to find Lent as a joyful time where we journey towards God.

Our Gospel does not remind us that Jesus is the beloved for his sake or that he is driven into the wilderness for his sake; these images and words are for our sake that we might understand something greater than the noise in our heads. We have to order that noise in our heads so that God has a chance to speak and in our hearts so that we might find purpose and a deliberate task to not only draw ourselves deeper into God’s presence, but also to serve his Kingdom.

So, the words of our Scriptures are gifts to you and me for us to meditate upon so we meet Christ in the sacrament of the Altar, and in the sacrament of our daily lives.  For you are holy (if only you would believe).  You are children made in the image of God, (if only you will accept).

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice.

Stop! find peace in your lives and recognise within yourself a conscious desire to know God.

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