Friday, 20 July 2012

Running on empty


Sunday GospelMark 6:30-34 


The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.


Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” ―Maya Angelou 


There is something in the Catholic psyche that has a need to be busy. Particularly English Catholics seem to have picked up on the puritan attitude of idle hands being automatically possessed by the devil. 


And a lot in everyone's psyche that likes to be recognised for what they have done.


There is also the truth that the Gospel calls us to be 'doing'. There is still much injustice in the world and good intentions are nothing without action. The Church itself - particularly at parish level - relies on 'Martha's' of both sexes. It is all very well, and indeed sometimes patronising, to proclaim that we are human 'beings' not human 'doings'. Sometimes there is work that needs to be done.  The Benedictines, with their maxim of 'ora et labora' - pray and work- seem to understand the need for balance. 


And when the work is prayerful; even when the prayer is part of what we are about; there comes a time when there is a need to rest.


It isn't the apostles but Jesus who recognises that the time has come for them to rest; they are still full of their adventures and successes. They believe they are running on spiritual power - Jesus knows they are running on empty - they have been away from him too long.


Doing God's work does not make you God; though sometimes it is easy for the ego to think so. To imagine that nothing will be done if you are not there to do it; nothing will be right if you are not there to check it; that others will go astray if you are not there to put them on the right path.


Just as Jesus says there are poor always; there are always the poor in spirit; those in need of grace. If they believe you are in touch with the Spirit then it is fair to say that others will come to you; will seek you out. Isn't that what you  are here for? And the answer that we often want to hear is - yes.


Doing God's work does mean making yourself vulnerable; opening your heart; channelling grace to those who need it. 


Sometimes, however, the person who needs it is you; sometimes the time, gentleness and understanding that you give to others you must give to yourself. In rest; in prayer; in meditation; in quiet and lonely places. Trusting in the Lord to take care of all his people - including you. 


Sometimes, all you can do is let go and let God... 


Blessing of the Seventh Day 

Be still
Just once - stop
Enough
More than enough
All that you can do
And still more to do?

I know...I know

But now
Now  - stop 

If I can do it 
Why can't you?


Blessed be




wordinthehand2012

4 comments:

log said...

Sometimes, however, the person who needs it is you; sometimes the time, gentleness and understanding that you give to others you must give to yourself. In rest; in prayer; in meditation; in quiet and lonely places. Trusting in the Lord to take care of all his people - including you.


Sometimes, all you can do is let go and let God...
I hope that one of the most important aspects of studying marks gospel I have learned is to minister and withdraw, minister and withdraw, minister and withdraw, just as Jesus and the disciples did. It is in this quiet time that God ministers to me. It is ego that tells me "I am different." Thank you very much for your ministry Mairie. It is really appreciated by me and those I am able to show your blogs to.God bless.+x

Philomena Ewing said...

Lovely post It is always difficult to get the timing right on these things. Centred people are few and far between these days but there is a very special quality about such people that is wonderful.
Blessings for what you do here.

Word in the Hand said...

Thank you both,
It is hard trying to find the balance between ego and 'let go' . Being centered tends to be a momentary experience. Part of the journey. blessings +

claire said...

Running on empty is such a good expression describing so well what goes on for those of us who work for Godde's kingdom.
Good to remember to stop :-)