Exploring how Silence and the Contemplative Way infuse into our ordinary everyday active lives, how Awareness manifests itself, and how we respond to the call to surrender to the divinity within.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Lead Kindly Light

Stained Glass at Mount Melleray Abbey

The Pillar of the Cloud

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom; Lead Thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead Thou me on. 
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene; 
one step enough for me. 

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou shouldst lead me on; 
I loved to choose and see my path, but now lead Thou me on.
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, pride ruled my will: 
remember not past years. 

So long Your power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on, 
o'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till the night is gone; 
and with the morn those angel faces smile 
which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

John Henry Newman, at sea, 16th June 1833
Lenten Compline Hymn, Mount Melleray Abbey

I was very blessed to join in a prayerful retreat at Mount Melleray Abbey, near Cappoquin, where the above hymn was sung by the monks at the Compline office (evening prayer). It was composed by John Henry Newman in a period of turmoil, as he struggled to get home to England from Europe, and to pursue an inner pull to transform the Church. He endured loneliness, illness and a deep yearning to begin his quest, though he did not yet know what truly lay ahead for him.

I am in great gratitude for the presence of these inspiring Cistercian monks, who honour and live out their devotion to God, Love, Silence, Community and Contemplation, and allow us to join in and anchor ourselves there too. We know not what lies ahead for us, but by anchoring ourselves in the strength of our prayers, our deep inner knowing, and Silence, we invite and embody Rest.