Look! .... Listen!

Springtime reveals a freshness of the natural world around us. The grass seems to be greener than we ever knew it to be and the early blossom on the trees is surely the beauty of paradise. Perhaps it is the town dweller who perceives this most acutely coming out to the country only occasionally. But everyone instinctively considers the 'miracle' of new growth as a sort of revelation. Bernard of Clairvaux is said to have remarked that the oaks and the beeches were his masters in understanding the deepest things of life.

The other side of this awareness of the beauty and meaning of natural things is our need for the spoken word. The problem for us today is that we have a surfeit of words through the various channels of the media - news reports, assessments, criticism, advertisement, placarding of the evil things that happen to people. What a relief it is to have the opportunity to hear just a few apposite words which speak to the heart and the mind and upbuild us even physically. There are words in the psalms which speak directly to us - As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Or in the gospels an arresting phrase can open up an entirely new vista for us -
I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

Just to let the words of the Gospel or the psalms enter into the mind, gently, is a healing encounter and a revelation of the meaning of life. It is the heart of Christian prayer.

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