Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bede on Holy Week

I commend Bede's blog to you for an account of the Triduum Services at Holy Cross this year. Here's one of the fine moments in that story:
Early in the meal I turned around to get some page of the Liturgy that I needed and there was the full moon - the Paschal Moon - rising over the River. I stopped and looked at it for a while. To my left was a young woman whom we have known, along with all of her family, for many years, and she said quietly: "One of my earliest memories is of seeing the full moon through that window." And I thought: "Oh, my." I have been here for a lot of years, but I was a well-formed adult when I came here. I just thought for a while what it would be like to have always had this place in your consciousness. What does it mean to a life if one of the first things you remember is the moon through the Monastery window? I had a moment of very deep gratitude for being able to carry someone through life like that. (source)

Bede has a remarkable way of being present and available to the moment. I once asked him how that could be maintained "in the world," and he said that it is very difficult to maintain outside of monastic community, but it has been done. It seems that the people that we know capable of maintaining this kind of sensitivity are very disciplined meditators.

This morning at our contemplative Eucharist I had a thought about this. I think much of the talk about meditation is really unnecessary. I'm not even a huge fan of giving much instruction to guide novices as they sit. I think the real key is simply sitting down with the intention to be aware. The preconceived notions of what that awareness will feel or look like--descriptions passed down to us from teacher to student about about non-attachment to passing thoughts and so forth--ought to be self-evident from the practice. "Don't just do something: Sit there!"

My contemplative heart misses the days when I could just sit and adore God. I'm desperate to get to Holy Cross soon. Yes, I know I could "sit and adore" anywhere, but places, liturgies, and people all have ways of helping me return to my best self.


No comments: