A Path of Wonder

by Christine Sine

by Christine Sine

A few days ago a good friend encouraged me to revisit John O’Donahue’s book  To Bless the Space Between Us. It is one of my favourite books so it wasn’t hard to pull it out again. Only this time she suggested that I start with the last section To Retrieve the Lost Art of Blessing because as she reminded me, we have lost the art of blessing, not just as a perfunctory grace before a meal but the art of blessing every aspect of the day and of what we do. Today the phrase Each new day is a path of wonder, caught my attention and I have been thinking about the journey that each day takes us on. No day stands still; each one moves through different territory, awakening new beginnings Donahue reminds us.

Why is it so rare for us to think about the day in this way? Why do we forget to bless the moments of the day and recognize the wonder of God’s presence in them. My pondering today led to this poem which I wanted to share with you:

Have we lost the words of wonder
to speak of God’s enduring love
To convey the warm embrace
that holds us through the nights
of joy and sorrow.
To share the touch that reaches out across the universe
To says I care.

Have we lost the images
That shimmer with God’s glory
And dance across our minds
With bright and shining clarity
To fill our souls with beauty.

Have we lost the silence
That holds the peace
Of resting in this moment
Of God’s created wonder.
Unique in its beauty
Alone in its glory
Yet bound to the whole world.

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Mary July 30, 2019 - 1:13 pm

Lovely poem that caused me to stop and think about each aspect mentioned.
My heart agrees that we should always allow time each day to stop and notice, ponder, contemplate as it does our hearts and souls such good.

Christine Sine July 30, 2019 - 1:24 pm

Thanks Mary. I find myself wanting to stop and admire the Beaty of God’s world more and more

Rodney Marsh July 30, 2019 - 6:54 pm

‘Yes’ is my answer to your rhetorical questions, Christine. But we have lost the words, images and silence not because they have ceased to be, but because we have travelled to a ‘far country’ and, in our foolishess, abandoned our very human divinity in favour of a kind of crass functionalism. However, the words, images and silence of everyone’s invisible shoreline can be recoved by the many spiritual practises recommended in your book.

John O Donahue’s blessings come from the ‘shoreline of the invisible’ (p187). John’s concluding essay in his book of blessings, “To retrieve the Lost Art of Blessing” is worth a repeated read (along with his poem “the eyes of Jesus”).

He says (p217) “We have no idea the effect we actually have on one another. This is where blessing can achieve so much. Blessing as powerful and positive intention can transform situations and people.”

One step I have implemented over the many years of work with the teachers and staff (in a secualr situation) is to begin each term with the gift of peace (“The Peace of the Lord be with you. And also with you.”). I inform staff that they have the real gift (grace) of peace to offer. It is part of their humanity. What is required to give and receive this gift (blessing) is attention to another (look your neighbour in the eyes, touch their hands) and intention (to ‘see’ them as they are, accept them and to offer yourself to them). This is the real/effective grace of a sacrament and it transforms (if the intention and attention are real) both giver and receiver. Ultimately, we have only one gift to offer God or others – the gift of our self, our presence and this what conveys God’s real presence to others and they to us.

“Blessing has pure agency because it animates on the deepest threshold between being and becoming; it mines the territories of memory to awaken and draw forth possibilities we cannot even begin to imagine!” (p217) Now “back home in the house” he never left (p220), John O’Donahue continues to bless humanity.

Christine Sine July 30, 2019 - 7:52 pm

So true Rodney. Thank you for your reflections. I can see that like me you are a fan of John O’Donahue. He is indeed a blessing that we can all continue to learn from.

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