In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Today is the last day of the year, but the gospel reading begins with the words “In the beginning.…” Yesterday, Anna, though she was at the end of her life, was “looking forward,” not back. In the life of faith it is always the beginning. There are no dead ends for a Christian; the end is always the beginning of something immense.
A monk from Thomas Merton’s abbey visited our priory, and I apologised to him for the many steps as we climbed the stairs. “There are many steps in Gethsemani abbey, too,” he replied. Then he added, “I count them as I climb…. This is how I count them: one, one, one…!” In the spiritual life it is always the beginning.
The Scriptures are deep beyond words, and I pray that I haven’t misused or trivialised them, or mangled them too badly. I feel nothing but gratitude for having been allowed to accompany you: we were like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, as he walked with us.
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