Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Return with all your heart

Ash Wednesday this year, for me, is about the condition of our hearts. The Collect for Ash Wednesday gets at this. It reads:
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the god of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness...
The painting above is entitled Prodigal Son. It is by the contemporary Russian artist Vladimir Zunuzin www.zunuzin.com I have found myself drawn to this biblical image as depicted by many different artists, but no one captures the colors of the heart the way this painting does.
During this Lent, may we, like the Prodigal lament our sins and acknowledge our wretchedness ....just perhaps we will receive a brand new heart.

Ash Wednesday

A Portion of the poem Ash Wednesday from TS Elliot.


Although I do not hope to turn again

Although I do not hope

Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss

In this brief transit where the dreams cross

The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying

(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things

From the wide window towards the granite shore

The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying

Unbroken wings
And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices

In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices

And the weak spirit quickens to rebel

For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell

Quickens to recover

The cry of quail and the whirling plover

And the blind eye creates

The empty forms between the ivory gates

And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth

The place of solitude where three dreams cross

Between blue rocks

But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away

Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Bless├Ęd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood

Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still

Even among these rocks,

Our peace in His will

And even among these rocks

Sister, mother

And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,

Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.