WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Archbishop’s column: the wonderment of God

‘People do not have time any longer to be enchanted.’
This is a comment someone made during a meeting I was at recently. The speaker went on to say that where there is no longer any enchantment in life, there is also no sense of God. I immediately thought of the saying of the great G K Chesterton, ‘There are plenty of things to wonder at in this life; what is lacking is wonderment.’
Apr07APC.jpg It won’t just happen but we have the ability to make it happen, and to be caught up in the mystery of God.
We have a special opportunity to do this during Lent when the church calls us to pay closer attention to the word of God.
On the Second Sunday of Lent, the two prayers that the church gave us as the Collects or Opening Prayers for Mass talked about the Word of God. The first prayer prayed for the grace to respond to the word of God and went on to say,
‘God, our Father,
help us to hear your son.
Enlighten us with your word
that we may find a way to your glory.’
The second prayer said:
 ‘Open our hearts to the voice of your word
and free us from the original darkness
which shadows our vision.’
These are wonderful prayers and I believe give us the clue to what we do to be caught up in the wonderment of God’s presence. We do this by hearing the word, and allowing our hearts to be open to the voice of God.
I wonder if, during what is left of Lent, we could respond to the challenge to be people who read, meditate on, pray and contemplate the words of scripture. What process, reading, meditating, thinking about, praying and contemplating the bible, are the elements of the great tradition of Lectio Divina (more about this ancient method of praying in the separate story on this page). They help us in the process of opening ourselves to God, becoming aware of God.
Ever since the Second Vatican Council underlined the primary and pre-eminent role of the word of God in the life of the church, we have made great progress in devoutly and attentively listening to the words of scripture. Scripture has been given a positive honour in the public prayer of the church.
Perhaps it’s up to us as individuals, families and groups to adopt some prayerful practices ourselves to listen more attentively to the word of God. What a powerful thing it would be if groups of us or families came together for a short time during each week and took the next Sunday’s gospel and read it, read it again then thought about it, prayed about it and let it sit in our hearts. That word and the power of the word would have a great impact on our lives. It would have a great impact on family life, on individual life.
I am convinced, that if we make the effort to do this, we will be caught up in the wonder of God. We will somehow be, once again, enchanted with the presence and the mystery of God which speaks deeply to us.
God, our Father,
help us to hear your son.
Enlighten us with your word.
Open our hearts to the voice of your word.
Image shows Archbishop John Dew with members of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.