Knitting before the face of God

Daily Reading for August 4

I was fortunate enough to come upon . . . Archbishop Anthony Bloom’s School for Prayer; it helped me greatly in many ways, especially to find the presence of God in ordinary places, people, events and moments of time. I listened to the advice that Archbishop Bloom once gave to a woman who had been trying to perceive God’s presence for fourteen years and failed to do so. He advised her:

“Go to your room, after breakfast, put it right, place your armchair in a strategic position. . . just sit, look round, and try to see where you live, because I am sure that if you have prayed all these fourteen years it is a long time since you have seen your room. And then take your knitting and for fifteen minutes knit before the face of God, but I forbid you to say one word of prayer. You just knit and try to enjoy the peace of your room.”

I too followed that advice and, like Archbishop Anthony’s old lady, found that I noticed things about the room that I had never noticed before. I also saw how peaceful the room felt and, for the first time, how full of “presence” it felt, presence that made me feel happy and in tune with my room and, after a while, with the people who came into my thoughts. That was the beginning of a change in my attitudes. In time I became more observant of everything in my surroundings. I began to see them in relation to God and I began to find God within them, and them in God.

I stopped being greedy for what I hadn’t got because I had been given so much delight in each moment. Like many other Christians I also found myself full of reverence for the things I was receiving from God’s hands each day. This reverence has grown. It springs from a perception that everything we are given comes from God. When we understand, see and experience that we are well on the way to learning to worship God through finding God’s transcendence within the immanent moments of each day.

From Vocation to Resistance by Una Kroll (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1995).

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