You can review the readings for Tuesday and Holy Week by clicking here.
How long has God known you? How long has God had a purpose for you? Longer than ‘as long as you can remember!’ That’s a long time! In today’s reading from the Hebrew Scriptures from Isaiah we read;
Listen to me, O coastlands,pay attention,
you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me away.
Throughout Lent we have been engaged in a process of self examination, prayer , fasting and alms giving. It is a vulnerable place to be. Vulnerable because we sometimes can be harder on ourselves than God is. Vulnerable because our self-examination can be to harsh. We read in Isaiah above that God has been with us from the beginning. God has been with us longer than we have been in daylight. God has been holding us in the palm of God’s hand. That is a very tender image. In my mind, that is the place we search for Lent – we aim to be able to spend time feeling safe in the palm of God’s hand. Safe enough to be still and to ask God all the questions of our hearts. There is no better time then Holy Week to enter in to space that can be gentle and reflective. Henri Nouwen sums this up well;
“Know yourself” is good advice. But to know ourselves doesn’t mean to analyse ourselves. Sometimes we want to know ourselves as if we were machines that could be taken apart and put back together at will. At certain critical times in our lives it might be helpful to explore in some detail the events that led us to our crises, but we make a mistake when we think that we can ever completely understand ourselves and explain the full meaning of our lives to others.
Solitude, silence, and prayer are often the best ways to self-knowledge. Not because they offer solutions for the complexity of our lives but because they bring us in touch with our sacred centre, where God dwells. That sacred centre may not be analysed. It is the place of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise.
Entering a sacred place, a place of solitude and prayer allows us to come closer to God. Coming closer to God by allowing ourselves time to shut down all of the noises of life is critically important. Coming closer to where God dwells with us is not a place for analysis, but a place to ‘be still and know’ that God is with us. We have been named as God’s own since we have been in our mother’s wombs.
Take time this Holy Week for solitude, silence and prayer. Time for adoration, thanksgiving, and praise.