Reverence

Many years ago, I saw, and was swept away by, a performance of The Street of Crocodiles by Complicité. It was one of the most moving experiences I had ever had, so when, a few days later, I was given the opportunity to see the production again with a school group, I jumped at the opportunity. It was just as wonderful second time around.

Feeling slightly stunned, I asked one of the sixth formers what he thought about it.

“Boring,” he replied.

I remembered that exchange yesterday when I stumbled on this wonderful article by Sr Dominic Mary Heath on ‘The Necessity of Reverence’. She wasn’t writing about a West End production but I think there’s a link because, as Sr Dominic Mary writes:

“Reverence opens our eyes to beauty in the order of creation, in the wholeness of human persons, and in the mystery of divine providence – beauty that is inaccessible to irreverent eyes.”

That really struck a chord, partly because it reminded me of my own irreverence. The first time I visited Dublin – before I became a Catholic – I wandered into the back of a church where Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was taking place. Except I had no idea that that was what it was. All I could see with my irreverent eyes was a bunch of people kneeling down in silence for no discernible reason. I stayed resolutely on my feet.

What I missed that day was what they saw: beauty and the mystery of divine providence. I shared a space with them but not the beauty because I closed my eyes to it. And how often do we all do that in our everyday lives?

That is why I was so grateful to Sr Dominic Mary for her timely reminder. She really is a wonderful writer, so if you enjoyed that article please also have a look at this equally good article of hers on the importance of ‘Giving God Our Attention.’

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