“Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything. People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees.”
Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395)
“And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion – that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields, or deep inside books – can redignify the worst stung heart.”
“Thanks to the human heart by which we live. Thanks to the tenderness, its joys and fears. To me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”
My Prayer today is for the beauty of wonder. Gregory of Nyssa suggests that ‘only wonder comprehends anything’. Often when we are touched by wonder, we know we have felt, understood, received something more truer than anything, but its sometimes hard to put our finger on what exactly. Even us poets feel the frustration of not being able to describe the heart of wonder. BUT we know its essential. We know a life without wonder is half a life. Is devoid of the mystery of the unattainable, the unreachable something, which in those small moments of every day life reaches out to us, and touches our brow with the breath of heaven. Wonder causes us to keep reaching, to keep open and responsive to the awe of its touch. It restores us. It is the otherness that Mary Oliver talks about which ‘redignify’s the worst stung heart’. Its reminds us as the great poet William Wordsworth said, that ‘we come trailing clouds of glory from God who is our home’. Wonder teaches us we are a part of the whole. That the otherness we experience, when we experience wonder, is more essential to our sense of belonging that anything else.
These are drawn from daily prayers and reflections I write for my Chaplaincy colleagues.