From the 17th to the 23rd of December a special sequence of invocations have been used since at least the 5th Century. Today’s one – “O Wisdom, Come to teach us the way of prudence” – reflects the age-old quest for a balanced way of being, that will lead to our hearts being fulfilled, faced with all the demands on our time.
Every day we bump into things that challenge us to keep our hearts soft when fears and disappointments try to convince us to harden and close down. The temptation is to say “What can we do? It is as it is” . However, this never-ending wisdom practice consists in keeping open to experience in all its changing forms – its joys and its sorrows – having the courage to meet whatever comes our way with a spacious heart. We dare to believe in the underlying mystery, behind the busyness of the day. Things may change, the attitude of the heart doesn’t:
The water in the stream may have changed many times,
but the reflection of the moon and the stars remains the same.
When we love and allow ourselves to be loved,
we begin more and more to inhabit the kingdom of the eternal.
Fear changes into courage, emptiness becomes plenitude, and distance becomes intimacy.
John O’Donohue, AnamCara
You think you are alive
because you breathe air?
Shame on you,
that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don’t be without Love,
so you won’t feel dead.
Die in Love
and stay alive forever.
Do what you love.
Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality.
Be not simply good – be good for something.
Henry David Thoreau
An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.
A head has one use: To love a genuine love.
The feet: To chase after it.
Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind,
for learning what men have done and tried to do.
Mysteries are not to be solved: The eye goes blind
when it only wants to see why.
A lover is always accused of something.
But when he finds his love, whatever was lost
in the looking comes back completely changed.
Rumi, Night and Sleep
May your longing inhabit its deepest dreams
within the shelter of the Great Belonging
John O Donohue, Eternal Echoes
photo Mullaghreelan Wood near Kilkea, Co Kildare