Day Thirty Six, Tuesday in Holy Week

Kneeler 124

Psalm 71

To you, Lord, have I come for shelter:
let me never be put to shame.

2 In your righteousness rescue and deliver me:
incline your ear to me and save me.

3 Be for me a rock of refuge, a fortress to defend me:
for you are my high rock, and my stronghold.

4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked:
from the grasp of the pitiless and unjust.

5 For you, Lord, are my hope:
you are my confidence, O God, from my youth upward.

6 On you have I leaned since my birth:
you are he that brought me out of my mother's womb,
and my praise is of you continually.

There is a saying ascribed to Isidore the Priest warning that "of all evil suggestions, the most terrible is the prompting to follow your own heart."…

…left to ourselves, the search for what the heart prompts is like peeling an onion; we are not going to arrive at a pure and simple set of inclinations. In the matter of self examination as in others, "the truth is rarely pure and never simple". The desert means a stepping back from the great system of collusive fantasy in which I try to decide who I am, sometimes to persuade you to tell me who I am (in accord of course with my preferences), sometimes to use God as a reinforcement for my picture of myself and so on and on. The 'burden' of self-accusation, the suspicion of what the heart prompts, this is not about an inhuman austerity or self-hatred, but about the need for us all to be coaxed into honesty by the confidence that God can forgive and heal..


God alone will tell me who I 'really' am, and he will do so only in the lifelong process of bringing my thoughts and longings into his presence without fear and deception.

Rowan Williams "Silence and Honey Cakes: The wisdom of the Desert" p49

(This book was also used by Chris in his sermon "Desert Walking" on 13th February 2005.)