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.

VI


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.