When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of the Lord, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’
Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
1 Kings 19:9,11-13
First reading for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
St Irenaeus spoke of the Sacraments as loud silences in the mystery of God.
Often enough the heart of the Sacrament is surrounded by all sorts of activity – that of the Liturgy, and that of our daily lives. That activity is not without its importance – not least the proclamation of the word that most immediately prepares us for the sacramental encounter with the Lord in the washing with water, anointing with oil, tasting of Bread broken and Wine poured out and shared.
But there needs to be the opportunity to enter into the silence, and depth, of that sacramental encounter… Sometimes the liturgy presents us with that opportunity, sometimes life… but when it does not come to us so easily we need to make time to seek it out, lest we have the experience and miss the meaning… receive the gift, but still lack the giver.
Installation, Venice Bienealle, 2008. (c) Allen Morris, 2018