In the midst of darkness...

Life seems increasingly to be made up of contrasting extremes. For example, the fact that August 6th is simultaneously the Transfiguration and the anniversary of Hiroshima: those present at each event were blinded by dazzling light, brighter than the sun - for three this meant joy and a glimpse of heaven's glory; for over 135,000 it meant death. More generally, I sometimes marvel at the fact that, regardless of the headlines and melting glaciers, the sun still rises, the birds still sing; the world, seemingly unaware, still does what it does. And I am aware of those contrasts within myself. I realise I can take delight in lavender and sunflowers and butterflies, in strangers' small acts of kindness, friendship, and opportunities for playfulness, even as my heart aches and my spirit is wearied by the world's increasing descent into darkness and rage. Most probably, I take delight precisely because I need these antidotes.

On Sunday morning I prayed with the heartrending news of two mass shootings in the USA, and their wider implications and ugliness. And then, within a few hours, I was on my way to the quiet joy of a first vows Mass at Notting Hill Carmel. In the midst of our country's and the world's growing cruelty, injustice and madness, Sarah's response - at one level another kind of madness, at another, utterly sane - is to pledge herself to Love, and to serve this world primarily by bringing its manifold needs, hopes and struggles to God in prayer.

And at the heart of this same world, filled with beauty as much as with pain, I am called to be: giving whatever proof I can of God's unmeasured love; holding on to hope; seeking to transform and be transformed... even as I sit with the Pierced Heart of Jesus, manifest in the woundedness of humanity. Here, I know, God dwells and can be found, whether or not I can readily discern his glory shining forth.

Which brings me back to the Transfiguration, that glimpse of the fullness of life destined to be ours; that compelling invitation to our own transfiguration into the radiant, all-embracing love we behold... Yesterday I stumbled across a prayer by Jim Cotter. It was clearly written for this feast, but it can apply to any day, and especially to darker ones. This is our call, whether in a monastery or the market-place. How else can this world know of the triumph of love, and of those glorious wounds, through which we are all healed, except through our transfigured lives...?

May the light and love of God shine in our hearts and through the universe that the whole creation may be transfigured to glory, in and through Jesus Christ, radiant in the splendour of the wounds of love.