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Sunday, 20 December 2009

plumbing the depths

Shortly after I wrote my last post, the book I had chosen as my next to review from Thomas Nelson arrived.  I am just over a third of the way through, and will probably not get to post my proper review until the new year, but I wanted to share some personal thoughts.  It takes a month for these books to get to me, but this one arrived at exactly the right time.  It is The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of spiritual life, by Joan Chittister.

Curling up with this book gives me a strange sense of peace.  So many of the sentences and paragraphs trigger a whole host of related thoughts in my head, turning them over and pondering the import of them, enjoying reflecting on a deeper level.  of course, the Liturgical Year as it is called, the Christian year, begins with Advent.  So for me to start reading it now is very apt.  I needed some deeper reflection on the things of faith, related to the times of pause and celebration.

'Life is not meant to be escaped, we learn, as the liturgical year moves from season to season,' she says at one point. 'It is meant to be penetrated, to be plumbed to its depths, to be tasted and savored and bring us to realise that the God who created us is with us yet' (p60).

This idea of immersing oneself in the rhythm of the Jesus life finds a reverberation in my heart I did not know was there.  I am desperate to embrace a more reflective way of living, of finding the pause, of not mistaking distraction for fulfilment, or as Joan Chittister puts it, not racing 'over the top of [life],satiating ourselves with the obvious, unmindful of its depths. We become stale of soul.'

In this Advent season, this book has helped me begin to think and reflect deeply once more - always something I have had a tendency towards, but easily crushed and squeezed out by life's inanities, distractions and quick-fixes.  I look forward to reading the rest of the book.

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"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster