Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Psalm 109 • Genesis 50:15-261 Corinthians 12:1-11Mark 8:11-26

“Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember?”
— Mark 8:18

Jesus is frustrated with his disciples who are still worrying about daily needs like having enough food to eat. Have they not been paying attention to any of his teachings?

We encounter so many obstacles that impede our understanding of God’s message: no time, too many distractions, too many commitments; pre-set ideas, unrealistic expectations, unfinished business. Greed, lust, envy, revenge. Ignorance, judging others. Illness, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and to food, sex, gambling, power. And fear, shame, pain, anxiety. We are unavailable to see, to hear, or to remember God’s word. How can it be otherwise?

When asked to identify times I have known the Holy Spirit, I return to childhood vacations spent in Wales where my family has a small cottage. To be outside there, looking at the hills, the hugeness of the sky, hearing and feeling the wind, the sound of new lambs, was a most precious gift for me. My mother would say, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my strength,” and I knew what she meant. I have had to learn to pay attention, to stay in the present, not to miss what is happening now by letting myself be distracted by the past or concerned about the future. I listen for my biases and judgments that prevent me from accepting how things are, from knowing people as they are.

I came across this short piece of Buddhist wisdom, reminding us that a troubled mind cannot know the way.
We are what we think,
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.
How can a troubled mind understand the way?
Can we hear God’s word in a new way? Can we clear away the cobwebs? Can we understand?

— Deborah Healey

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