Compline Reflection Holy Monday

And so we begin our journey into Holy Week.

This is the most significant week of the Christian year.

This week takes us to the very heart of human life –

in all its wonder and all its horror.

Everything we will ever encounter in life is part of this week:    

Joy and pain; love and betrayal; faith and doubt; hope and despair;     

it is all there. Life in a nutshell.


And at the heart of this holy mystery; at the very heart of Jesus’ holy journey;

is that most incredible truth that God is at the centre of it all.

That every experience of life is a path to God; and a means of experiencing God.

Both the joy and the pain; love and betrayal; hope and despair; faith and doubt;

are all pathways that will lead us to God if we will allow them to.

There is no experience in life that God is not intimately a part of.


During the great pilgrimages of the Middle Ages

a woman travelled by foot for weeks to visit one the great Christian shrines

and offer her prayers to God,

When she finally arrived she was exhausted and foot weary,

so, before entering the shrine she sat for a while under a tree facing the holy place.

She took off her shoes to ease her aching feet and allow the cool air to soothe them.

After a while a pious monk came out of the shrine

and walked over to where the woman was sitting and asked her to move:

“Because” he said

“it is not right to sit with ones dirty feet pointing at the dwelling place of God.”


The woman looked at the monk and smiled. “My brother monk” she said

 “if you can kindly point out to me somewhere that God does not dwell,

I shall gladly point my feet in that direction”     The monk left her in peace.


There is no place that God does not dwell;

from the deepest joy to the greatest pain.

God will use it all to bring us home; to make us whole.

Jesus shows us this week, that the way to be open to God in all this, is to embrace it.

In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus made his choice. He said “yes”.

He surrendered to what is, and as painful as that was, he found it led to God; to life.


It is one thing to say “yes” to God in joy, love, faith, hope, wonder;

but can we really say “yes”  to God in pain, doubt, betrayal, despair?

This week says we can.

And it tells us that our “yes” can transform those moments into holy moments.

If we cannot say “yes” to our sorrow; neither can we truly say “yes” to our Joy.

They are part of each other.


Point out to me where God does not dwell, said the pilgrim

“and I shall gladly point my feet in that direction”.

God dwells at the heart of life. Jesus said “yes” and found God there.