“Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Genesis 22:12

Friday, 12 June 2020

1 Kings 19:9a, 11–16; Psalm 27:7–9c, 13–14; Matthew 5:27–32.

The story of Elijah’s encounter with the Lord at Mount Horeb is famous for how Elijah hears the Lord in the whispering silence. Elijah is asked to leave everything and spend time with God. We remember that the Lord is not in obvious places: e.g. the wind, the earthquake or the fire, but rather the Lord is in the silence. The Roman Senator, Boethius, once said that in God there is a deep and a glittering darkness. When we encounter God, that glittering darkness becomes the overwhelming light that fills our vision. In the silence, we hear God.


The same is true for us. When we go and stand outside of ourselves and the things that keep us busy, when we make ourselves vulnerable, and open to God, there is often the roaring, crashing, and crushing sense of all the things that we should be paying attention to, but we’re not paying attention to, because we’re spending our time outside, we’re ‘wasting’ our time trying to listen for God, when we feel we should be seeking after God in all the phenomena, the reading of the signs of the times. But God is not in those places.


We dare not turn away, for our job is to stand and wait for the Lord. In this time of lockdown and pandemic, it is tempting to look for God in those expected places. But as we fast from the Eucharist together, perhaps the Lord is speaking to us, and inviting us to go and stand and wait for the Lord to pass by in our lives. Can we listen, in silence, to what the Lord is inviting us? Can we recognise, that just like Elijah, the Lord has been speaking to us already, prompting us towards deeper relationship, deeper communion with Him.


Give me the courage to set aside my concerns, and listen to what you desire to share with me. Give me moments of intimacy with you. Let me find you in the quiet moments of my day. Thank you for allowing me to share my life with you.


Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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