About This Week's Prompts for Personal Meditation Legion occupies your naked body like a garrison town, imbedded in your throat, thoughts, feelings, soul. Even the swine panic and run themselves off the cliff at their horrific occupation. Only water can vanquish this army. Which waters? Waters of the Unconscious? Of Baptism? Do not throw us back to the abyss, the demons cry.
Healing requires confrontation - bold looking at that which the eye instinctively shuns (meditation one). Restoration may require a slow crawl up from the deep toward nothing more luminous, more ordinary than starlight (meditation two). But any healing, any miracle belongs not to you alone, but to the world, to love, to Love and those most in need of the Love which you now bear (meditation three).
Enjoy your meditation on the rich images of this week's Gospel. -Suzanne
Meditation One confrontation If you therefore go to the desert to be rid of all the dreadful people and all the awful problems in your life, you will be wasting your time. You should go to the desert for a total confrontation with yourself. For one goes to the desert to see more and to see better. One goes to the desert especially to take a closer look at the things and people one would rather not see, to face situations one would rather avoid, to answer questions one would rather forget.
-Alessandro Pronzato Meditations on the Sand
Detail, Fabulous Creatures, Romanesque Painter, Austrian, C 1220
Lord! Make our heart Thy temple in which Thou wouldst live. Grant that every impure thought, every earthly desire might be like the idol Dagon - each morning broken at the feet of the Ark of the Covenant. Teach us to master flesh and blood and let this mastery of ourselves be our bloody sacrifice in order that we might be able to say with the Apostle: "I die every day."
-Soren Kierkegaard The Prayers of Soren Kierkegaard
Healing of the Demon-possessed man, Source: Wikipedia commons. No other information available.
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for Proper 7 (American BCP1979)
Excorcism, Miniaturist, Hungarian, after 1476
Meditation Two restoration For those who have dwelt in depression's dark wood, and known its inexplicable agony, their return from the abyss is not unlike the ascent of the poet, trudging upward and upward out of hell's black depths and at last emerging into what he saw as "the shining world." There, whoever has been restored to health has almost always been restored to the capacity for serenity and joy, and this may be indemnity enough for having endured the despair beyond despair. E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle. And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.
Meditation Three going to the "opposite" side Just as Jesus went to the Gerasene, his followers today are called to step out of the boat on the "opposite" side. The mission of Jesus' followers is to take the healing and liberating love of God to broken and desolate regions, to those whose lives are bound by demonic forces they cannot control. Indeed the missional language of exorcism and healing has been a notable feature of baptismal vows since antiquity. Baptismal candidates and confirmands promise, among other things, to resist Satan and the spiritual forces of wickedness in whatever ways they present themselves. To be baptized is to commit to going to the opposite side with Jesus. -Elaine A. Heath Feasting on the Word YrC Vol 3, p. 170
The Last Word In the spiritual life, freedom is for nothing other than love. -Gerald May 1940-2005