Sunday, February 01, 2015

ENCOUNTERING THE GIFT - Reflections on the Presentation of Christ during a retreat for Spiritual Directors in training

Old Man, you’ve sown the years
longing for the harvest, hoping
for the green shoot to appear.
Fragrant with perfection.  He is here
waiting to be purified, waiting to be crucified.

And His Mother, offering her Lamb,
gives Him to your open arms
so you can finally die in peace
knowing that the Promised One is born
in gratitude you will whisper
that her heart will break.
The Offering (A Song of Simeon)
- Eve Fortis

Such is the ministry of spiritual direction – waiting and longing for the harvest: hoping for the green shoot to appear.

Perhaps there is a Simeon-like charism to this calling: the charism of patient trust in the slow work of God.  Not the prophetic calling: that is a particular charism to be shared in season.  But that faithful ‘being present’ until we notice the fragrance of God’s presence.  To sense and wonder that “He is here” and to be prepared, at times, for our own soul to be pierced through our encounters.

So every encounter in spiritual direction is like a Presentation.  We present ourselves to a directee in all our awesomeness and wait before theirs.  This is the consequence of our personal vocation – to be present, with our directee, in the holy place of encounter that their inner thoughts might be revealed.

And, maybe, there’s also a calling to be like Mary and Joseph, who came to present their Gift to God, not recognising what they bore.  But they encountered God in the Temple and were surprised by the gift they brought.  This weekend we have encountered something of our, and each others, deepest self in this holy place and now are invited to offer, in word, symbol, image or song, the gift we have received.  To place that before the Lord.

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