Friday, April 10, 2020


Perhaps now more than ever, in the midst of this virus, our hearts are numb, desensitized, inured to the pain and fear. And so we must go to him, our wounded Lord, bring each other, bring the world in its suffering and despondency and seeming hopelessness, longing for the intrusion of his grace. Impeded, our tongues thick, not knowing how to speak our need and longing, and perhaps deafened by too much tragedy.

Christ Jesus assures us that he hears, he understands; that he is with us, he himself praying, articulating our desire in words beyond words. This is what our prayer is best of all: our desire groaned by Jesus for us, within us. It is this very groaning of God in Christ that brings healing and fluency to our world. We must bring one another to Jesus. We never go to him alone. He who is for us our Lord and Bridegroom and most kind Physician begs us to open ourselves to him. He longs to meet us here in our ordinariness, in its precariousness, its pain, its beauty.

We have died; our lives are hidden now with Christ in God. Don’t we consider everything to be nothing at all compared with knowing Christ Jesus, our Lord. As monks we have set everything else aside, because in comparison everything else is just a pile of trash. And we want more and more to know only Christ. We share in his sufferings even now and so are becoming like him in his death and resurrection. Christ Jesus has made me each of us his own – now, here.

It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance - for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light ... Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it? .... Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave - that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm.

Lines from Marilynne Robinson, Gilead. Detail of a polychromed bronze corpus, after a model by Michelangelo.