This Saturday I had time to browse in my favourite second-hand book store, and found a book that is delighting me with it's insights - it's immensely encouraging. So, I'm putting a couple of quotes here for any fellow travellers who might get joy from them also.
The writer is speaking of her life as a Benedictine living in the inner city: "It is here, in a place that the late Trappist monk Thomas Merton called the new wilderness, that I built my hut. Merton thought it the new desert because the centre of our cities are barren and dry, devoid of hope, of promise, of possibility."
"What do I do here? I plead a case for presence, beauty, community, and a call to follow God into the wilderness.
Once upon a time men and women who wanted to seek God relocated themselves in abandoned places. These 'wilderness places' often associated with the desert, gave the seekers a unique perspective and freedom.
Living on the margins of society, stripped of the trappings of social expectation and pressure, they began to see differently. Immersed in the word of God, they began to listen differently. They put on the broken heart of God and spoke the truth on God's behalf for the poor, the victims of injustice, the suffering.
Their location in the wilderness gave them great freedom. Why? Because no one paid attention to them. Because they were not the movers and shakers of the city. Because they had no political influence, no one cared what they did. No one even noticed their quiet works of transformation among the poor until suddenly "the desert and parched land bloomed with abundant flowers"."
Quotes are from "A Monk in the Inner City" by Mary Lou Kownacki.
This expresses so accurately what is happening in many cities in the earth right now. Let us become unafraid to see and listen differently, and just maybe we will hear God calling us to come and walk in dry and barren places with Him, and have the joy of seeing Him make these same places bloom with abundant flowers! May we too find a new perspective and new freedom.