Day 10 : Saturday 4 March

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

| Deuteronomy 26.16-19 | Psalm 119.1-8 | Matthew 5.43-48 |


Liliiya Kaluzhyna. "Blackout Kyiv", November 2022.

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Valentin Silvestrov. Postlude no.3, arr. by Joel Quarrington for piano and cello or double bass. Played by Daisy Leung piano and Joel Quarrington double bass as a "A prayer for Peace in Ukraine".

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from: Eternal echoes, by John O'Donohue. Perennial, 1999. pp. 129&ndash30.

The Delicate Art of Freeing Yourself

Real friendship is a powerful presence in helping you to see the prisons within which you live. From inside your own life, it is so difficult to gain enough distance to look back on your-self and see the outer shape of your life. This discernment is often easier for your friend than it would be for you. Real friends will never come with a battering ram to demolish the prison in which they see you. They know that it could be too soon. You are not yet ready to leave. They also know that until you see for yourself how and where you are caught, you cannot become free. If they destroy this prison cell, you will inevitably build a new one from the old material. True friendship attunes itself in care to the rhythm of your soul. In conversation and affection, your friend will only attempt something very modest, namely, to remove one pebble from the wall. When that pencil of light shines in on your darkness, it arouses your longing to become free. It reminds you of the freshness and fragrance of another life that you had learned to forget in your cell. This dot of light empowers you, and then, brick by brick, you will remove the walls you had placed between the light and yourself. True friendship trusts the soul to find the light, to loosen one pebble in the wall and open the way to freedom. Massive inner structures begin to loosen and break when the first pencil-thin beam of recognition hits us.

Often others may judge you to be in a prison, whereas in actual fact you were never more free and creative. True knowing goes beyond projection, impression, and expectation. There is a whole moral question here regarding the nature and timing of disclosure and intervention. If you show someone bluntly that he is caught in a prison, you make him aware of his confinement. If the person is incapable of liberating himself, you have left him with a heavier burden.

There is a telling story of a British anthropologist who came to a village in India where the natives wove the most beautiful shawls. The art of weaving was highly prized there. The workers wove the shawls amidst conversation with each other about local events and old stories. Weaving was their secret skill, and its methods had become like second nature. The anthropologist observed them for weeks. Then one morning, he came there and told them that he had worked out exactly how they did it He made explicit the implicit skill they exercised. He showed them the secret of their artistry. In that disclosure, he robbed their artistry of all its magic. With that he changed them from surprised artists of emergent beauty into helpless, impoverished workers. This story could stand as a metaphor for the massive transformation in the modern world. The natural and ancient creativity of soul is being replaced by the miserable little arithmetic of know-how.

Creativity is rich with unexpected possibility. Know-how is mere fragmented mechanics which lacks tradition, context, and surprise. Analysis is always subsequent to and parasitic on creativity. Our culture is becoming crowded with analysts, and much of what passes for creativity is merely clever know-how. When creativity dries up, the analysts turn on themselves and begin to empty out the inner world; this has contributed to the terrible loss of soul in our culture. It is wise to recall that “analysis” comes from the Greek word “ana-luein,” which means to break something complex into its simple elements,. When the embrace and depth of creativity are absent, analysis becomes destruction. It can break things apart, but there is nothing now to put them back together again. Nature always maintains this balance between breakage and new life.

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