The special sacred days over Easter remind us how each person is part of torn and broken humanity. We might be dismayed and upset – indeed horrified by events in the world – those that lead to hideous cruelty against all creatures, including humans, and the cruel destruction of the living planet. We might also recognise all the good things within each person and in the world.
There is the space to offer up all of this to God and for it to be transformed. So in silent prayer there is the offering of not only our private personal life but also ourselves as part of the life of the world.
Alexander Ryrie says that sadly none of us can hope to achieve very much by our practical efforts to make the world a better place. But that perseverance in the practice of silent prayer, if we can do it honestly and faithfully, involves a self-offering. He sees this as taking responsibility for our own small share in the troubled state of the world. He believes that when we do this one little bit of torn and broken humanity is laid before God, for God to take and transform. He writes that there is nothing more important than we can do for the life of the world, and no more effective form of intercession, than this. He sees it as absorbing evil and a significant purpose in anyone’s life.
Here there are echoes of Carl Jung’s famous statement that if we only learn to deal with our own shadow we have done something real for the world … We have ‘succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, and unsolved social problems of our day.’
The integration of our shadow is a form of resurrection. As Thomas Merton wrote, ‘the resurrection is the only light, with that light there is no error.’
So … and to quote Merton again: ‘life is on our side… The silence and the Cross of which we know are forces that cannot be defeated.’