Saturday, June 03, 2006

Silence

This passage was in my chapter of Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom (1970, Paulist Press) last night, and I saw myself in it:

You may remember the story in the Gospel of the storm of the sea of Galilee: Christ asleep in the boat and the storm raging around. At first the apostles work hard and hopefully in order to survive. Then at a certain moment they lose heart, and the storm that was outside comes inside—the storm is within them too. Anguish, death no longer simply circle round, they come inside. And then they turn to Christ and do what we very often do with God: we look at God in time of stress and tragedy, and we are indignant that He is so peaceful. The story in the Gospel underlines it by saying that Christ was sleeping with His head on a pillow—the final insult. They are dying and He is comfortable. This is exactly what we feel about God so often. How dare He be blissful, how dare He be so comfortable when I am in trouble? And the disciples do exactly what we do so very often. Instead of coming to God and saying, ‘You are peace, you are the Lord…say a word and things will come right,’ they shake Him out of His sleep and say, ‘Don’t you care that we are perishing?’ In other words, ‘If you can do nothing, at least don’t sleep. If you can do nothing better, then at least die in anguish with us.’ Christ reacts, he gets up and says ‘Men of little faith!’ and brushing them aside, He turns toward the storm…and everything is quiet again.

Worth reflecting on when things are bad and we have hit the wall trying to put them right. Do we blame him for not dying in anguish with us? Bloom, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop, was a skeptic in his youth and during WWII served as an army surgeon and also with the French resistance. Surely he writes here from personal experience!

Every so often, I sense that Hound of Heaven padding along behind me.

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