Friday, 27 February 2009

Pause For Thought.

The dry, arid red rock of Eliot's Wasteland and the seized up shores of the Fisher King, that mystical figure of European literature, remind me of Lent. The journey of the cross taken in place of happy evensong and Benediction, standing by each station, seeing my breath in the cold and the white salt coming out of the red brick at the back of the Church where it faces the full brunt of the west winds, a dry, arid place by the third fall of Christ, before he and we change by the removal of the last vestige of dignity. Being stripped and standing naked before your executioners, for whom you are to die that they and their children may have the chance of life with you in heaven and for us our nakedness in the sight of God, His knowing of us inside our hearts and souls and our inability to comprehend the depth of love which gave us Lent and the Passion is a good place to start our devotions. Lost in wonder, love and praise.

This pilgrimage into the interior begins with our acknowledgement of our own failings and our need for repentance and forgiveness. Spiritual writings are a help to us, as ca be the daily newspaper, as we look for news which interests us, let us dwell on that which we find hard to justify or to understand and incorporate that into your prayers, use our inbuilt judgementalism and ability to be soi dissant as a Lenten discipline to see ourselves as equal in God's eyes and with as much chance of redemption and as much value to God as those we read about who die in their thousands in disasters, or who kill their fellow people. The realisation that only the word of God and the path which follows His son will help us and free the world from sin will follow soon. Forty days looking at our place in the world, our uniqueness and our responsibilities, in complete humility, will be forty days well spent.

The poem by TS Eliot, 'Ash Wednesday' may be of help as well, I certainly find it so, here is an extract, you can google the title for the whole piece. Try 'Four Quartets' as well, Eliot has a remarkable was of writing accessibly as well as provoking ones thoughts.

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Bless├Ęd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.