Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Many of the really powerful forces in contemporary culture work to seduce human longing along the pathways of false satisfaction. When our longing becomes numbed our sense of belonging becomes empty and cold; this intensifies the sense of isolation and distance that so many people now feel. Consumerism is the worship of the god of quantity; advertising is its liturgy. Advertising is schooling in false longing. More and more the world of image claims our longing. Image is mere surface veneer. It is no wonder that there is such a crisis of belonging now since there is no homeland in this external world of image and product. It is a famine field of the Spirit. Despite all the energy and development that have taken place many areas in modern life are losing their nature and grace.
The restlessness in the human heart will never be finally stilled by any person, project, or place. The longing is eternal. This is what constantly qualifies and enlarges our circles of belonging. There is a constant and vital tension between longing and belonging. Without the shelter of belonging, our longings would lack direction, focus, and context; they would be aimless and haunted, constantly tugging the heart in a myriad of opposing directions. Without belonging, our longing would be demented. As memory gathers and anchors time so does belonging shelter longing. Belonging without longing would be empty and dead, a cold frame around emptiness. One often notices this in relationships where the longing has died; they have become arrangements, and there is no longer any shared or vital presence. When longing dies, creativity ceases. The arduous task of being a human is to balance longing and belonging so that they work with and against each other to ensure that all the potential and gifts that sleep in the clay of the heart may be awakened and realized in this one life. All our longing is but an eternal echo of the Divine Longing which has created us and sustains us here. Sheltered within the embrace of that Great Belonging we can dare to let our longing lead us towards the mountain of transfiguration.
— John O'Donohue. Eternal echoes. Perennial, 1999, pp. xxvii-xxviii.
Maurice Duruflé. Notre Père.
ProMusica of Washington Adventist University, dir James Bingham.
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.