Thursday, June 14, 2012

Asleep in the Mercy…

Very often the word “awakening” is used to describe the ways of God in the heart of his people (e.g. Timothy Jones’ Awake my Soul or Cynthia Bourgeault’s Centring Prayer and Inner Awakening) and of course in many ways this is a good image. God does, by his grace, wake us from the half-conscious life we live in the world, caught among images and the desire for images, living in a reality that is far from real, but a kind of user interface with reality—for, as Eliot said, “human kind / Cannot bear very much reality.”

In a recent article in Church Times, Tony Horsfall (the quote is from his recent book Rhythms of Grace: Finding Intimacy with God) wrote, “We live in a God-bathed world. There is no place where God is not, although sometimes we may be asleep in his presence.” I know what he means, and of course we have all known times like this, when we realise we have spent the entire space of the Eucharistic prayer at Mass thinking about HTML5, or the need to weed the garden. But truly being asleep, sound asleep, in the presence of God, falling asleep in the conscious presence of God, consciously longing for the mercy of Christ, and letting oneself slip into sleep as into that mercy—that is something different, and I would want to be clear about the distinction…

I seem to be collecting a little cache of writings about this, and I don’t want to repeat myself here, so do start with this Lent’s post The Shores of Perception, which links back to the earlier posts—or else just click “dreams” in the tag cloud in the sidebar. There is so much more to explore here, and yet by its very essence it is hard to capture, sitting here at a keyboard. But I will try, over the next few weeks I will try as best I can…

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