Finding strength

It's been a busy and tiring week. Not unremittingly hard - I've attended a lovely meeting, there's been some good news and I've enjoyed the mounting excitement and zestful preparations for a forthcoming house event. But at other times I have felt wearyingly engulfed by a series of unforeseen events and problems which have no quick or easy solutions, but which it is my responsibility to resolve. People have been sympathetic, with spontaneous hugs and supportive words and deeds, but even so by midweek - whilst the actual floods in England have started to recede - the "flood level" of the problems seemed to be reaching my neck.

At such times I need to get out of my office, even if only for a few minutes, escape to the prayer room and spend the time in silent prayer, simply gathering strength. There are few words, because they are not needed, beyond asking briefly for the strength I need. The power and the grace of this time comes from simply being with God, wanting to be with God, in silence and stillness. The problems do not diminish, let alone go away, but somehow the flood waters feel less threatening and I am strengthened for whatever lies ahead.

And at such times I recall one of my favourite passages from Isaiah: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength. Somehow, inexplicably, that's how it is.

On Sunday I'll be going away for a few days to our house of prayer, Llannerchwen, where I'll have whole days in which to gather strength, whether sitting in stillness or walking in quietness. The problems themselves won't disappear, I know that, but I also know the flood waters will recede.

The US Network of Sacred Heart Schools posts daily quotes on its Facebook page, often by Janet Erskine Stuart RSCJ, the centenary of whose death we are celebrating this year. Two quotes this week seem to have been tailor made for me, and, although they have not been uppermost, they have become part of the week's repository of quietness and trust. I offer them below, in case anyone reading this also needs to receive their wisdom...

When no-one else understands, He does. When no-one else is aware, He is; so that in reality we are never alone.

You do not know what prayers can do, making impossible things possible. God will help you, and, if you keep hold of the deepest things you know and keep hold of God Himself, you may go through very hard days but you can never go under.