Monday, November 22, 2021

Pay attention

 


Letter

from Hannah Stone

I often wonder if all the fretful, frenetic activity in our lives isn’t a human way . . .  of driving away the signs everywhere around us:  signs calling us to stop, to wake up, to receive a new and larger perspective, to pay attention to what is most important in life, and hence to behold the face of God in every ordinary moment.  These signs press most insistently at the turning of the year, when earthly light drains from our lives and we are left wondering in the dark.
           
The church, from ancient times, recognized the spiritual value of this winter span of darkness and created in its liturgy what we might think of as a three-months-long Night Office, beginning with the Feast of All Saints on the first of November, and ending with Candlemas on the second of February.    This season is a vast parabola of prophecy and vision, a liturgical arcing of eternity through the world’s midnight.
 
The Bible – especially Isaiah and Revelation – do their best to subvert our perceptions of  time and space in order to plunge us into the great stillness at the heart of things, the stillness necessary to make space for what is  “ ever ancient and ever new” : to break through the clamour of our minds, to open our hearts to the Beloved, to annunciation and to fruition.  Eternity is our dwelling place even in time, if only we have the eyes to see, the heart to welcome.
 
“Only in this stillness can we know eyes are being opened  and ears unstopped;  the lame are leaping like deer and those once silenced singing for joy;  water is springing in the parched wilderness of our pain.”
 
From Writing the Icon of the Heart by Maggie Ross
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