Today is Thursday the 24 September, in the Twenty Fifth Week of Ordinary Time.
The choir of Westminster Cathedral, directed by David Hill, sing Victoria’s Taedet animam meam: ‘My soul is weary of my life.’ Perhaps you feel a bit weary today, even now as you’re trying to pray – not in the mood – too busy, too preoccupied, too tired. If that is how you find yourself right now, just acknowledge that feeling, and present yourself, nonetheless, to God, just as you are. And God will listen to you, and accept you, just as you are.
Today’s reading is from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them.
This is something of a classic text for the world-weary. What is there in your own memories, in your own experience of life, that confirms the feeling in this passage that there is nothing new in the world, and “all is vanity”?
And what in your experience contradicts this feeling? What have you come across in your life that you found genuinely new, and different, and interesting and exciting?
As you listen again, notice what you hear from this passage – truth? or just tiredness? Does it sound to you like it’s hitting the nail on the head, or just being grumpy? And how much of it reflects your own feelings?
If you feel the need for a renewed zest and zeal for life, can you ask God for that now? And if that’s not how you feel, what other feelings, what desires do you want to bring before the Lord now?
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.