On many occasions I emerged from a spiritual director’s rooms with an overwhelming sense of relief. There was a spiritual way and I was on it after all.
This is not to say in an arrogant way I had everything sussed. I was feeling genuine relief because I had gone into those rooms uncertain, unsure of anything hanging together at all. I was unsure of any direction or purposes about my life and work. Daily noise and activity had blotted out for a while the quiet urging to be centred or the gentle call to keep journeying.
We’re using the metaphor of journey on Sunday. Last night, reading Edward Edinger’s reflections on the Psalms, I found the notion of path or way is ancient. This is no postmodern simile dreamed up by an advertising agency as a slick marketing slogan for Lent. The call to move, travel, walk; to make pilgrimage is at our very heart and rises up from our deepest being. Abraham’s father travelled to Haran from Ur. Abraham travelled on from there. Joseph went down to Egypt, the Hebrew slaves came up out of Egypt. The little refugee family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus escaped to Egypt and returned only when safe to do so.
Jesus travelled around villages. At this time of year we remember again the way he set his face towards Jerusalem. He knew it was a journey that would not work out well from one point of view but from another perspective, it would turn out to have lasting significance
The good thing about the spiritual journey is, (as I periodically found out at spiritual direction) it is always there, we are always on it and it has the potential, if we let it, to lead us to our very depths. Sometimes we will not feel anything of that hope and purpose, but always it underlies us, like a track lies beneath fallen leaves or a road is still evident in overgrown grass or a mountain track can be faintly seen over scree.
Lent reminds us there is a journey and offers us a manageable, six-week sector of the overall pilgrimage where we can focus and centre ourselves on what is important. All the best with your various journeys this Lenten season. Let’s walk together.
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