IN THE COOL OF THE DAY
“Adam and Eve heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, so they hid from God among the trees. God then called out, ‘Where are you?’ ”
– Genesis 3:8,9
Walk about the gardens of Greyfriars’ Abbey and eventually you will come upon The Contemplative St. Francis, a grey stone statue set among the flowers of the season. I like to visit this pensive Francis in the gloaming of the day, those moments that tuck the daylight into the twilight of the evening. And as I walk with the Lord and with Francis, there in the cool of the day, my mind often recalls that poignant moment at the beginning of our faith history, the very divine yet surprisingly human mention of God strolling through the garden in the cool of the day. The writer of Genesis indicates that Adam and Eve “heard” God taking His evening walk … I suppose it was God’s footsteps – if God can have footsteps – or maybe, God was softly singing a song.
As one becomes acclimated to monastic life, one becomes far more aware of the subtle nuances of Time. Because of the Holy Quiet and because of the many hours spent in contemplative prayer, your senses become more finely tuned to experience of Life itself. For example, during the frantic busyness of my work life as a United Methodist Pastor, days flew by in bunches of seven. Life was a crowded calendar of getting to the next meeting, getting to the next visit, scratching one more item on a never completed to do list. I confess that, far too often, days were a blur of racing through the hours between waking up and going to bed. My days were too often measured by lines and spaces on my Day-Timer. Did it have to be such a way? Probably not … but like most of us, I was schooled to be ambitious, to prove my worth, to cram each day with more and more of what I already had.
Now, in this new calling of God upon my life … a life that I try to share with those I love, with those whose schedule are still too demanding … I am learning the personalities of each hour of the day and each hour of the night. I am learning to experience Time not by their humanly given numbered names, 1, 2, 3:30, 4 … but by their names as given by God … by their distinctive qualities. When you live your Christian life contemplatively, you come to know moments of God’s Creation. You come to know those moments just before the first soft light of dawn – the Moments of Expectation. In those few moments, the long wait of the night leans forward sensing that a new day is about to be born. You come to know those moments when the world awakens – the Moments of Awakening. In those few moments, the warblers nested in the trees begin to stretch their wings and the dew sparkles the green with rejoicing. You comes to know those moments in the height and the heat of the day, those Moments of Challenge. In those few moments, our human strength and will is tested and we muster the courage to press on … that is … after a few moments in the shade, the shade that is kindest when the sun is fiercest. You come to know those moments found in the hour of going home, those Moments of Coming Home. In those few moments, memories of a day lived are stored away in the library of the soul, when the hours of hard labor find time to mellow into a satisfying joy.
Oh, a Day and a Night are filled with a spectrum of the divine-human experiences – each one is glorious in its distinctive way, each hour having its own God-given name. One of my favorites is the Hour that comes in the cooling of the day … the Time when God and human souls take a slow stroll … the Time when God asks, “Where are you?”
My Loved Ones, experience each Hour and savor its wonder … for I have discovered that God creates each Day out of a glorious palette of Holy Moments.
Brother Anthony of the Cross
For the latest installment of the ongoing story, The Mystic Realms of Shadow Fox, just click … https://greyfriarsabbey.wordpress.com/the-mystic-reams-of-shadow-fox/ … The installments are separated by ********* with the latest being at the end (obviously).