Lent blog: 14 – WORKMEN ON SITE

Published Thu, 04/03/2021 by

With workmen on site, it’s hard to relax.  I feel the need to be vigilant, to make sure the work is being done to a satisfactory standard.  I need to feel happy with what is being done and that I’m getting value for money.  It’s not a very promising backdrop to concentrate on anything else while it’s all going on.  It’s hard to settle to other things.

At times like this contemplative prayer, reading the Scriptures or reciting the Divine Office has to be done before or after.  Often the best I can manage in the midst of it all is to offer up short arrow prayers.  But that too is true prayer.

My life as a priest oscillates necessarily between what writers on spirituality call ‘the desert’ and ‘the market place’.  Most Christians tend to be happier in one setting or the other.  Some prefer to leave the deeper life of prayer to others – those they may see as the ‘religious’ people. But the Christian life will take most people into the market place much of the time if not most of it.  We need to accustom ourselves to finding and serving God not only in the one place, but in the other too – and to develop our confidence and competence accordingly.

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive,” wrote the second-century Bishop, St Irenaeus.  We are all a work in progress – our lives are a worksite. Falling short as we do of that fullness of being for which we were created, the journey into reclaiming and completely expressing our life and dignity as Christians is going to take perseverance.  It is a steep learning curve at times, but undertake it we must if we are to keep growing into that image of God which is our baptismal calling.

Where do you feel more comfortable – the desert or the marketplace?  What challenges in daily discipleship could you turn into opportunities to explore more fully your capacity to be comfortable in the other as well?

MICHAEL KIRKHAM