Start of Lent Week Two: A Few Meandering Thoughts


The Benedictine monk Br. David Steindl-Rast has featured on my blog several times and he is a firm favourite of many.

This post has a video of his talk delivered on June, 26,2011 in Moscow, Russia.

Not the best quality video and the transcript for his speech at the end of the post is far from perfect but nevertheless there are some gems and pearls of wisdom here. 

As we enter the Second Week of Lent I find it a useful springboard as we continue on a journey and  the Scriptures  lead us to the peak of Mount Tabor next Sunday for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

He talks about peak experiences here and also how religious communities can sometimes box themselves in by an over -determined approach.

Chatting with friends, these past few days, makes it apparent that many of us find that we are in quite different heart and mind places at different times on the Lenten life journey and that is reflected in several ways: by the choices of materials we are led to read, the way we pray or don't, the appetites and cravings we have for food , the metaphorical spaces we want to stay in or move on from, the images that draw us in or push us away;  the imaginal landscape is huge and we are not all necessarily in a linear neat orderly line or procession.

The thin and liminal spaces of Lent seep into everyday life more acutely and often catch us unawares, and David Steindl eloquently talks about that vast open ended space and source of Divine nature that we are entering into. 


But the wilderness also has its wild beasts, dangers, evils and temptations and we need angels to minister to us !! 

At the extreme ends of the spectrum,some people get focused and embedded so much on the evils  and are in danger of being enmeshed totally ;others remain totally oblivious or do not even countenance evil and focus entirely on the joy!





Image Christ in The Wilderness from here


Many of us totter awkwardly backwards and forwards and struggle somewhere in between, trying to hold on to the tension without being captured exclusively by one extreme or the other; the search for balance may be elusive ! 

Sometimes even balance can be pathological and Christ is aiming at tipping us over from our imaginally perfect stance to deliberately disturb us and keep us off balance.



Some people say they get frustrated when they are feeling joyful in Lent  and want to share that but another person just wants to stay quiet or is having a completely different experience. They want to dive into deep waters for a while.


Clearly all experiences need validating and we are often in a state of flux ! 
 








Chaos can be stimulating and/or frightening and so can endless repetition and the feeling of getting nowhere.
Even in one day our emotions can change drastically from one moment to the next and a lot of people strongly resist the idea of a predetermined path through Lent. 





Some days we might feel like Sisyphus.






Other days even the smallest things can make us feel like giving up and we feel like wimps.













Sometimes we may feel like we just want to take leave from the whole Lenten thing and escape.




















One size does not fit all. I don't think it matters one jot whether we all meet up at Mount Tabor next week or whether we find ourselves lingering on the slopes below, or have wandered off on some side track, God is still with us. !!










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