Tuesday of Holy Week

There are plenty who sit and talk. Fewer walk the talk. Even fewer are able to make the walking the ultimate and complete expression of the talking. By their actions they express everything that their words once meant. In this they acquire the pure eloquence of silence.

This point is a culmination of all that has been anticipated and understood in the past – a fulfillment of a prophecy. It is like walking towards the edge of a cliff and seeing it approach you as you walk towards it.

Is it coming to you or are you walking towards it? You cannot see what lies immediately below the edge but you can see what lies in the far distance beyond it – the vast Atlantic in the case of the cliffs of Bere Island.

Or, it is like preparing for an examination, which looms more and more ominously as the final day comes closer. Or, like the awesome evening before a solemn vow or ritual commitment, a marriage or monastic profession. The mind can handle big things while they are at a distance. It is easy to postpone a decision or deny the imminence of the moment coming. But when the moment does come everything changes.

The day has come. The die is cast. No more time to prepare or reconsider. You can still resist and deny reality, but at a major cost of losing your sanity. The only sane thing is to surrender to the event that is now happening, to the eventuality of the inevitable outcome.

However long it has been thought about, at this moment reality makes us gasp. Fear dissolves into the past. It becomes simply part of what has been. Anxiety about the future shrinks to nothing. All that matters is what is, what is happening. In English the word happen comes from the word, ‘hap’, that means chance or good luck. However well-prepared for what happens has the feeling of something gratuitous, something accidental or purely given.

The consequences of past events that led to this moment are already contained in what will come from it, as the flower is in the seed. And at the core of the seed is a vast, pregnant emptiness. This is the present moment, the only reality. Being in touch with this is peace. Surrender and acceptance is the passion of Jesus. This explains the building presence we can feel throughout Holy Week and the deepening equanimity of Jesus at every stage of his last days.

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