Tag: St Antony of Egypt

Follow the Redshank

My friend Joyce Smith has sent another Photo prayer for us to contemplate.
It is of a Redshank pausing at Welney.

There’s a story from the Desert Spiritual tradition about St. Antony

St. Antony was one day resting with his disciples when a hunter came upon them.
He berated them for their indolence.
Antony asked him to draw his bow and shoot an arrow. Puzzled, he did so.
Antony asked him to do it again. He did so but when Antony asked him a third time,
the man protested that if he carried on his bow would break with the strain.

Just so, said Antony, as we would if we did not from time to time rest and relax.

When I received Joyce’s latest tweet and photograph, this saying came to mind.

I thought too of something Cardinal Basil Hume once said, initially to novices he was teaching but it is applicable to all.
“When you are busy in the market place, always have a nostalgia for the desert.”

In the midst of busy lives, in order to keep them grounded as well as in lives often filled with distraction, yearn to spent time with God.
We need to pay attention to both the active and passive parts of us and hold them in balance. Jesus could not have done what he did do if he had not constantly gone off to be with his Father.

It’s not an easy thing for us to do which is why Cardinal Hume talked of having nostalgia for quiet.
That is also why, having the Redshank moment is important.
Seize the moment when you can be still (As St Cuthbert did in my blog about Cuddy’s Isle).

The other point, of course is, that you should be careful of using busyness to avoid being alone with God!
He knows how to get round that one, so you can’t fool Him.

As the Hunter was to learn with St Antony, without these moments you simply break.

Think about  how you can, like the Redshank, just pause and allow the water of God’s grace refresh you, flowing around and into you. That is what the Redshank shows us when she stops and allows the waters to flow around her.

Standing in this grace, God will restore your soul.

Thank you Joyce for sharing your photo and its message.

{Mr. G & Joyce Smith}