We have started the Holy Week retreat on Bere Island. This partly explains my lateness in delivering this daily reflection – for which I apologise to the wonderful team of translators in our community who are sharing them in ten languages.
I have appreciated many readers of these daily reflection for taking the time to send me their comments. This has reminded me that we are all part of a conversation. The word ‘conversation’ usually evokes the sense of speaking together but this is a late meaning – from the 16th century I think. Its original meaning is suggested by St Benedict’s vow of ‘conversatio morum’, change in values and our way of life.
Conversation is primarily about ‘turning towards’ something together, training our attention on a common point and ‘living together’ in that way of looking and seeing. (To look at is not always to see. But you have to look first before you can truly see what is).
This holy week we are in conversation with each other and also with the great story of the last days of Jesus. The Christian scriptures however are not sutras or upanishads. The great intellectual and theological reflections of the faith I around the person of Jesus came later.
The heart of the conversation of this week is a story. It may be puzzling why the gospels, the core scriptures of Christianity, seems to give such disproportionate attention to the end of his life. Yet, when we recall the last days of life of someone we have loved, we understand why: the meaning of life and love becomes clearest when it is most vulnerable and fragile. Meditation teaches us this if we let it make us poor.