Comfort

COMFORT

READ:  Psalm 131

“Lord, my heart is not proud.  I do not look down on others.  I do not do great things and I can’t do miracles.  But I am calm and quiet, like a child with its mother.  I am at peace, like a child with its mother.  My people, put your hope in the Lord, now and forever.” – Psalm 131

Near the entrance of the all-male community of Greyfriars’ Abbey is a statue that one might not expect to find there.  You would think you would find statues of Saint Benedict or Jesus or a humble monk doing holy work.  Those statues can be found within the cloister of the Abbey, but at the entrance, in the most defining and most prominent place COMFORT… stands a lovely, even beautiful statue of Mary holding the Christ Child, her infant son, tenderly in her lap.  I find this particular Madonna to be remarkably human and tender, a vision of comfort that could be seen as both human and divine.  Yet, I have wondered why?  Why was this statue placed at such a prominent place at Greyfriars’? Inside live men folk, Brothers and Priests, most of whom are childless (I being one of the exceptions!) and a good share of them on the grey and grizzly end of the spectrum.  These men might possibly be lovely and graceful in Spirit, but I do not find them very lovely and graceful in appearance.  Yet, there she sits … at the gate of our coming and going … a mother and a child in a most, feminine comforting moment.

Now after a year of my novitiate, I am beginning to sense that subconsciously, these men sometimes yearn, maybe often yearn, to become once more that child in his mother’s arms, if only for a second or two.  I do not why this should surprise me … for my years of pastoral ministry has confirmed the truth that we all need to be comforted from time to time.

I find this brief Psalm, Psalm 131, to be such a poignant and personal confession by the Psalmist, even more so if the Psalmist were indeed the mighty King David, a man who had fought and survived so many wars and so many political conflicts.  It is as if in an unguarded moment, we catch a brief glimpse of the boy still lingering in the soul of an old man.  Almost as if in a very private and personal confession, the Psalmist remembers the comfort of being in mother’s arms … and how that same comfort comes to him when he places himself in the embrace of God.  I find it so beautiful, this Psalm 131, and I find it so tenderly human and revealingly divine.  Yes, …sometimes the Lord has the feel of a mother’s comforting arms.

Our lives are filled to the brim with adult responsibilities and grown-up challenges.  There is much work to be done, long journeys to be made and heavy responsibilities to fulfill … yet, midst all that adult-ness, there are moments when the child within us still needs mother’s comfort.  It is our nature – maybe, part of our frailty – but I  think more likely a part of our spirituality … this humility that recognizes our need for receiving tender comfort and with it, our finding of gentle peace.

I have recently begun carefully observing the faces of the Brothers when they pass by that statue of Mary and Child.  And I find that they ALL take time to give that mother and child a thoughtful look.  Each and every one of them! … And I sense that they do so … because they too … sometimes long … for loving comfort.

Loved Ones, take care of the children, especially the children within old men and weary women.

Pax,

Brother Anthony of the Cross
(jim mcwhinnie)

— Visit my poetry site, Willow Words, by clicking www.willowwordspoetry.wordpress.com .
Also visit my new Psalter site for a reading of the Psalms www.thepsalmsbybrotheranthony.wordpress.com

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