Day Seventeen : 16 March

Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.

Lectionary readings (Click the links to see the readings):
| 2 Kings 5.1-15 | Psalm 43 | Luke 4.24-30 |

Day 17

Clutter and simplicity

Of course, we can't all have a carefree life. But we can at least move in that direction. We fill our lives with so many unnecessary cares—even we monks. When the monks here were changing over to private cells, Tom [Thomas Merton] urged them to build them as places of prayer and to think of them that way and not as places to establish a private kingdom of which they would have all the care. How much we all tend to clutter our lives with things and projects we don’t really need, and then we have to take care of them. [. . .]

I look at the clutter of my own life. That is really what is at issue. I have to learn to say "no" to the little things that clutter: the book reviews and prefaces, the talks to students and ladies’ guilds. The gardening is OK; I need the fresh air and exercise. But I have to avoid other projects. If I can get a handle on the clutter and the correspondence, my life could be a bit more free. Still, something more radical than that is perhaps needed, at least for a while. As Tom says in his Thoughts in Solitude, to be a person implies freedom and responsibility. Both of these call for a certain interior solitude. But a cluttered or too-full life-full of activities and concerns leaves little interior-solitude. Most people are, in fact, afraid of facing their own interior solitude. They flee from it, deliberately filling their lives with people, if they can, and with things. And in so doing they lose their freedom and become irresponsible not responsible to many of the basic human needs around them and even in their own lives. They become addictively dependent on their chosen clutter. I am told that the average American allows television to fill a quarter of his time. What an investment of life! One of the reasons Tom was able to accomplish so much was that he was free from television and spectator sports. [I’m not guilty of this problem!] He preferred to play life’s game rather than watch others play it. He didn’t watch the Vietnam War or the race riots on TV. He heard about them, prayed, and acted, doing all he could to bring healing and peace. An uncluttered life gives a lot more freedom to be a responsive person.

— M Basil Pennington OCSO. Engaging the World with Merton, (Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete, 2005) pp. 103-4.

W. A. Mozart. Requiem Mass in D Minor.
English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir, cond. John Eliot Gardiner.
II - Dies Irae

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
teste David cum Sibylla.
Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!
Day of wrath, day of anger
will dissolve the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.
Great trembling there will be
when the Judge descends from heaven
to examine all things closely.

III - Tuba Mirum

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulcra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum. 
The trumpet will send its wondrous sound
throughout earth's sepulchres
and gather all before the throne. 
Mors stupebit et natura,
cum resurget creatura,
judicanti responsura.
Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur. 
Death and nature will be astounded,
when all creation rises again,
to answer the judgement.
A book will be brought forth,
in which all will be written,
by which the world will be judged. 
Judex ergo cum sedebit,
quidquid latet, apparebit,
nil inultum remanebit. 
When the judge takes his place,
what is hidden will be revealed,
nothing will remain unavenged.
Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
quem patronum rogaturus,
cum vix justus sit securus? 
What shall a wretch like me say?
Who shall intercede for me,
when the just ones need mercy?

May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602
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