BATHED IN JOY

DAY AFTER DAY I encounter degrees of faith and the most profound wisdom in the lives of people dwelling “in the desert places” that humble and inspire me. We’ve been having a bit of a run of bereavement and painful illnesses of one kind or another in Lent 2011. Several of my closest friends are living with cancer and the necessary treatments. Others bear different but no less troubling conditions with a grace that, quite simply, comes from beyond them or me. Bishop Kelvin Wright is one such graced exemplar. (The Truth Shall Set You Free)

My beloved parish priest was leaving for pastures new when I was but a young boy. I remember his parting words to our church family as though he uttered them yesterday. And I rejoice, forty years later, that they are as deeply true today when spoken by me: “If”, he said, “it is true that in any sense I have ministered to you, please know that it is doubly the case that you have ministered to me”.

And long years into my own spiritual journey I’m still learning “new every morning” to trust the grace and goodness of the God who hails and holds me tenderly in my own desert encounters. And Julia Esquivel, marvellous, extraordinary – and exiled – Guatemalan, enunciates what I – what all of us – most need to know: that, under God, the only thing we’re ever going to be really “Threatened with …” is “Resurrection”.

When the Hour Comes,
you shall change my desert into a waterfall,
you shall anoint my head with fresh oil
and your strength shall overcome my weakness.

You shall guide my feet into your footsteps
and I will walk the narrow path
that leads to your House.

You shall tell me when
and where
I will walk your path
totally bathed in joy.
In the meantime,
I ask you, Lord, you who awaken
in the most intimate place in my soul
the Feast of Life!

Julia Esquivel (born 1930)

Amenazado de ResurreccĂ­on – Threatened with Resurrection