I find it hard to assess this year. On the one hand, it has been very restful. On the other hand, I feel I have not accomplished much, because I did not apply myself to anything in great depth. It is difficult to know when one is simply meant to receive and digest, observe and adapt, commune and enjoy, and when to make an effort. Dwelling on that, however, obscures gratitude by vague feelings of guilt, which can never be a good thing.
What I definitely did learn this year – without noticing it – was the depth, importance and richness of liturgy. That applies to the wide scope of the liturgical year, the changing moods of Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, and so forth, but also to its details. Learning about liturgical colours, hymns, antiphons, when and how to celebrate or remember what, has drawn me deeper into the life of the Church. Next year, hopefully I will learn to remember more frequently Who is the life of the Church. Having fixed times of prayer in each day may be a step on the road to incessant prayer, but it is not the road.
Today is the last day of May, the month of Mary. Since I have been lost for words throughout the month, I will borrow those of Chesterton in Book VII of The Ballad of the White Horse. Mary, Queen of Confessors, pray for us!
The King looked up, and what he saw
Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.
One instant in a still light
He saw Our Lady then,
Her dress was soft as western sky,
And she was a queen most womanly –
But she was a queen of men.