14th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

Shortly after his conversion, St. Augustine of Hippo, penned these words:

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unlovliness I plunged into the lovely things that you created. You were with me, but I was not with you.”

(Confessions.  Confessions is an autobiographical work consisting of 13 books written in Latin between AD 397 and 400)

We do not pray to make God present to us. God is already present, always present everywhere.

We pray to make ourselves present to God.

English author Sheila Cassidy colourfully puts it,

“God is no more present in church than in a drinking bar, but we generally are more present to God in church than we are in a drinking bar. The problem of presence is not with God, but with us. “

The secret to prayer is not to try to make God present, but to make ourselves present to God.

The secret to finding beauty and love in life is basically the same.

Like God, they are already present.

The trick is to make ourselves present to them.

Rarely are we enough inside of our own skins, present enough to the moment, and sensitive enough to the richness that is already present in our lives.

Our experience comes brimming with riches, but too often we are not enough inside of it.

Like the young Augustine, we are away from ourselves, strangers to our own experience, seeking outside of ourselves something that is already inside of us.

The trick is to come home.

God and the moment do not have to be searched out and found.

They are already here.

We need to be here.

The image is of what is known as the Hubble Cross or the Cross of Hubble, taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope.

The image is some 30 million light-years from the planet earth.


14th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

This Sunday’s Gospel has Jesus returning to his home village, Nazareth and the people of the village “took offence at him” (v3).

Whenever I read this story in Mark’s Gospel, I am reminded of a most intriguing novel I read some years ago.

The novel is by the Irish author and playwright Brinsley MacNamara and is titled, The Valley of the Squinting Windows.

Written in 1918, the novel is set in the fictional village of Garradrimna, in central Ireland where everyone is interested in everyone else’s business and wishes them to fail.

Gossip and finger-pointing are rife. [The Valley of the Squinting Windows, so enraged the Westmeath community in which MacNamara lived that the book was publicly burned, its author humiliated and his father, the local schoolteacher, boycotted and driven into exile.]

The novel exposed the bitter cruelty of village morality.

The smaller the society, the more controlling this narrow spirit.

“Beneath the charm of the rural town or village, there often lurks a lethal intolerance.”

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