From Darkness to Dawn
"Could you not watch one hour with me?" The dawn, Jesus knew, which for others would banish the darkness with light and birdsong, for him would only serve to mock the agony which lay ahead. But now it was still dark and his soul cried out for the touch of another's hand on his, the voice of another to break the silence with rough male warmth. But his companions slept. Jesus waited alone.
There is a world of difference between those who are sleeping peacefully and those whose eyes are dry with wakefulness, whose hearts are too leaden, too burdened, to find rest. Jesus walked on that lonely shore on the edge of the world where there is no sleeping. His sad, quiet words to his disciples reach down through the ages to touch our hearts with a shared humanity: "Could you not watch one hour with me?"
We turn to the east and long for a bright dawn, but the darkness engulfs us. Our cries are lost in the darkness that seems to deny the dawn; the darkness that seems to deny our longing for the light to break over our heavy hearts and connect us once more to hope.
A voice reaches us from the seventeenth century, the voice of the religious poet, George Herbert, who articulates the lonely cry of the soul lost in darkness in his poem, "Deniall":
When my devotions could not pierce
Thy silent eares;
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse
My breast was full of fears
My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow,
Did flie asunder;
Each took his way; some would to pleasures go,
Some to warres and thunder
As good go anywhere, they say,
As to benumme
Both knees and heart, in crying night and day,
Come, come, my God, O come,
But no hearing.
O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue
To crie to thee,
And then not hear it crying! All day long
My heart was in my knee,
But no hearing.
Therefore my soul lay out of sight
My feeble spirit, unable to look right,
Like a nipt blossome, hung
O cheer and tune my heartlesse breast,
Deferre no time;
That so thy favours granting my request,
They and my mind may chime,
And mend my ryme.
In the beautiful prayer that constitutes the final verse of his poem, Herbert bears witness to the dawn. Harmony has been restored. Herbert receives the gift of the dawn and is restored to himself. He can feel again the quiet breath of God on his face and he knows that he has never been abandoned. God has never once lost sight of him; it is he who lost sight of God.
And the darkness is befriended
And we welcome the dawn.
21st March 2017 From Darkness to Dawn
27th October 2016 The Bright Field
27th June 2016 The Enemy Within
31st May 2016 The Little Way to The Almighty
25th January 2016 Love Immeasurable
11th November 2015 Letting Go
21st May 2015 The Gift of Loss
6th May 2015 Walls
24th November 2014 Leaning into Winter
24th October 2014 Crossing the Road
25th June 2014 Fetters of the Soul
30th April 2014 The Power of Gratitude
10th March 2014 The Darkling Thrush
11th February 2014 Spring
10th February 2014 Masks
3rd February 2014 Dancing in the Wind
21st January 2014 Chains of nostalgia
13th January 2014 Forgiving wrongs darker than death or night
7th January 2014 Singing out Loud
17th December 2013 CHRISTMAS FOUND
9th December 2013 Withering into the Truth
2nd December 2013 The Celtic Prayer Garden
25th November 2013 Missing Dates
18th November 2013 NEARER GOD’S HEART
12th November 2013 Night
27th April 2010 Healing God
25th November 2009 Our Poverty
1st September 2009 Which of the two tigers will win the fight?
1st June 2009 Be your own role model
25th May 2009 The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord
18th May 2009 Power of the real presence
7th May 2009 "Lessons I did not learn in School" - by Bill Gates
20th April 2009 JESUS RISES FROM THE DEAD
30th March 2009 The Long Walk to Freedom
23rd March 2009 Become a Friend
16th March 2009 Ireland in Identity Crisis?
9th March 2009 Love to Pray
2nd March 2009 Life - Giving Words
16th February 2009 Exclusion Policy
9th February 2009 Somewhere the Child
2nd February 2009 The Conversion of St Paul
12th January 2009 Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
22nd December 2008 A Christmas Parable by Louis Cassels
15th December 2008 Work – from In the heart of the Temple by Sr Joan Chittister
8th December 2008 Am I at home when the doorbell rings?
1st December 2008 Street Corner Christ
17th November 2008 How Did I Get This Busy?
10th November 2008 A Homily for The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica – 9th November 2008
3rd November 2008 John O’Donohue taken from “Benedictus - A Book of Blessings”
27th October 2008 Charles Peguy 1873-1914, French poet and politician
20th October 2008 The following is an extract from a talk given by Bishop George Lungu of Chipata in Zambia in Africa, to the synod of Bishops being held in Rome this month.
13th October 2008 Excerpt from ‘A Door of Hope’ by Jean Vanier
6th October 2008 A Reflection on Matthew's Gospel 21:28-32
29th September 2008 The Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII