Being here

“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

We are coming up again to Lent, the time in which St Benedict invites us “to wash away...the negligences of other times”—to tighten the bow string just a bit.

In the midst of the noise of our lives, interior and exterior, we are being gifted with six weeks of mercy, six weeks to clear the decks and sharpen our hearing for the voice of reality: “This is my Son; listen to him”. We are invited to six weeks of renewed intent with which to respond to the voice of love, “You speak in my heart and say ‘seek my face.’ Your face, Lord, will I seek.” This face that is always looking on us with pity and love, and not with blame.

As we are recalled to a renewed intensity of love during the weeks of Lent, this is a gift of six weeks of intensive practice at being here, where we are, and when.

I once knew someone in LA who had a photograph of himself standing in the middle of the desert beside a highway sign that said “Los Angeles 102 miles”. Anytime he wished he were a hundred miles away from his job he could just look at the picture.

In a world where many people wish they were elsewhere, where real transformation is an ever-receding wish, we are called live in a world where whatever is right in front of us matters, because attention to it is part of the means of our transfiguration.

We get to real life, not by being a hundred mental miles from here, but by remaining in this place at this moment, being exactly here, exactly now, paying attention to what God is doing in this instant, lest we miss it. “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

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