Friday 27th March 2020

Day 31   God is Part of our Busyness

I remember once, many years ago, going with a friend to hear Gerard Hughes speak about silence and prayer. He was very popular at the time as he had just written a well-known book called “The God of Surprises.” I remember leaving the talk feeling inspired and encouraged, and was surprised when I got outside to find my friend was fuming! “All this talk of silence and stillness” he said, “as if God were not present in noise and busyness.” In a sense he was right, it is easy to put so much emphasis on God being present with us in silent and still moments that we forget that God is just as close to us in the more hectic moments of life as well.

I am a big believer in creating still and quiet moments in life to tune in to God’s presence with us; in the appendix to these reflections there are reflections on meditation and finding moments of stillness in our lives. But the whole point of stillness and silence is to help us to become more aware of God’s presence in the activity and experiences of daily life. It is important to guard against any idea that God can only be truly experienced in silence, because we encounter God’s presence daily in the ordinary, everyday experiences and events of life. God is, indeed, very much a part of our busyness. Jesus did not spend his whole life in quiet retreat; although that was a part of his life, Jesus was very busy and active for much of the time.

That is why my mantra has become such an important way of praying in my life. It can be prayed in moments of quiet and stillness, but can be just as effective in the ordinary daily round of life. The simple fact is we are all made differently. Some of us need more silence, stillness and solitude in our day, it is part of our make-up and personality. Others like to keep active, to be doing things, to meet with people, and socialise more. Praying the mantra is a lovely way of being aware that God is part of all these things. God is present with us in silence and stillness, and God is with us in our interaction with others.

The mantra is a reminder that it is all an opportunity for prayer, for connecting with the prayer of Christ that flows through the whole of life.

It is not simply about times of prayer, but living prayerfully.


She had walked many
miles, suffered much pain, she
was hot and weary. Reaching her
destination of pilgrimage she
sat outside the shrine and removed
the shoes from her aching
feet, and closed her eyes.

A priest coughed, she looked
up  that pious face which
said to her: “Is it comely,
madam, to point ones dirty
feet toward such a holy
shrine where the One True
God is present and worshipped?”

She was not fazed by his
stern face, nor cowered at
his pompous speech and
thinking, but looked directly into
his eyes, saying: “Point me, good
man, in the direction God is not, and
I shall gladly point my filthy feet there.”


Meditation 26

 The Mustard Seed

 Where shall we begin? Asked disciple of Saint,
panicking at size of their task.
In response the said Saint did not hesitate:
“Doing small things with love is what’s asked.”

“But then what?” He cried, still daunted by facts,
and Saint paused for effect and then smiled:
“Then more small things, until task is complete”
is what the Saint replied.

“The mustard seed,” said Jesus to those who would hear,
“is the smallest of seeds so they say,
yet grows into shrubs in which birds build their nests,
and shelter and rest in its shade.”

“Faith as small as a mustard seed
moves mountains, builds kingdoms” said he.
Where to begin? How to go on?
With small things and great love, both agreed.

When we talk meditation we are talking mustard seeds. Small beginnings, small steps, small seeds. We do not have to worry about where it will all end that is in God’s hand. We do not have to worry where those small steps take us – God will be our guide. We do not have to worry about whether this seed grows into a small bush or a mighty oak – God is the gardener, not us. All we have to do is make small beginnings, take small steps, plant small seeds. That is all. And then what? More small beginnings, more small steps, more small seeds. That really is all. I will go on repeating it until I am blue in the face (because I need to keep hearing it!) God will take care of the rest.