Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Joy, not despair

Perhaps with the onset of autumn - it is now much cooler and the leaves are falling rapidly - the melancholy and celtic part of my genetic inheritance (can we say that?) has come to the fore. Anyone know of a remedy for that: one, that is, which doesn't involve following the example of the swallows in our church porch?
But we all find it difficult when we seem to be surrounded by the the grave illnesses of close family and of friends,  when perhaps we come up against those whose main motivation appears to tear down and destroy rather than preserve, cherish and build up, to be able to hold on to the fundamental Christian virtue of hope.
Pace the quotation from Josef Pieper from a few days ago, it's difficult when faced with what at least feels at the moment still very much like the defeat of many of our earthly hopes for heaven-directed things, to be anything other than filled with a kind of ironic amusement which can, if we don't guard against it constantly in our prayers, simply be a mask hiding - not too successfully - a corrosive inner despair.
We need to hold on to joy, not in the somewhat false, fixed grin, "I know I'm saved" sort of way, but the deep down joy which, even if everything else collapses around us, recognises that the Lord is in control of events, and that when we sometimes question his ways, he is in fact interrogating ours.

Not quite the last rose of summer, but a welcome burst of colour before the first frosts

My thanks to Margaret Zakachurina at the blog  Doves and Pomegranates  for posting this quotation which I came across the other day:

"In lighting a candle, we offer up to him, the one true Light, in love and humility, our poor little lights, confident in the knowledge that in his infinite mercy, somehow, they will merge into the radiance of the Kingdom of Heaven."

(Mother Thekla)

To return to Josef Pieper:
"Love is the prime gift. Whatever else is freely given to us becomes a gift only through love."

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