Taste and See: when less is more

St DOminic, Matisse sketch

The second reading at yesterday’s Mass speaks of God’s creation moving towards the fulfilment of its purpose, fruitfulness, harvest.

I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons. It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

Romans 8:18-23

We can envisage that achievement, that fulfilment, in many ways – when all are good; when all are obedient to the loving will of God; and so on.

The other metaphors around in yesterday’s readings speak of harvest, about plenty, and production.

But maybe the harvest of God is best achieved when we let go of our desires to have and to possess: a harvest achieved in surrender rather than accomplishment.

Something of this thought inspires the following poem by Tagore.

Time and time I came to your gate
with raised hands, asking for more and yet more.
You gave and gave, now in slow
measure, now in sudden excess.
I took some, and some things I let
drop; some lay heavy on my hands;
Some I made into playthings and broke
them when tired; till all the wrecks and
the hoards of your gifts grew immense,
hiding you, and the ceaseless expectation
wore my heart out.

Take, oh take – has now become my cry.
Shatter all from this beggar’s bowl:
put out this lamp of the importunate
watcher, hold my hands, raise me from
the still gathering heap of your gifts
into the bare infinity of your uncrowded presence.

Rabindranath Tagore

 Image: Cartoon of St Dominic. Matisse for the chapel at Vence. Photograph (c) Allen Morris, 2013.