“Come dance with me” by Fr Hugh O’Donnell SDB

“Come dance with me”                             Sunday Reflection:  5 June 2016

It is a wonderful gift to be able to bring the dead back to life. Doctors and nurses often do it as they wean the patient from the edge of darkness. A good friend, too, or a trusted guide can talk you back to life or simply listen hard enough for you to think that it’s worth going on.

In the stories offered us today for reflection, both Elijah and Jesus perform a similar miracle; they restore a widow’s son to life. It is primarily a story of compassion towards the widow who without her son will be bereft in a society with no social welfare. And Jesus is more a than miracle worker. He is the Father’s compassion in action, a Father who desires his creation to be fully alive.

In our runaway world it becomes more difficult for us to hear the beating heart of another. Countless distractions demand our attention – the decisions and revisions of every moment – so that we don’t get to the quiet place where the only disturbance is the sound of living water!

Patrick Kavanagh recovered by the banks of the canal after a serious illness. It was there in the quietness of the natural world that he recognised the ‘gaping need’ of his senses; saw that his soul was dying for want of ‘a new dress woven from blue and green things’, a new set of clothes for the dance of life.

Hafiz, the great Sufi mystic, puts it like this; ‘God only knows four words; ‘come dance with me’.

It seems that we are meant to identify ourselves most closely with the widow. For it is only when we come to the place of our need and see our own flesh and blood draining away that we can cry; ‘give me back my life; let me live again’.

In his poem, ‘the Flower’, George Herbert is truly amazed when he finds that spring has once again happened in him. His line is; ‘who would have thought my withered life could have recovered greenness’.

In the grace of healing, the widow begins to dance anew in her awakened child. It’s time to kick off our shoes and join in. Then maybe we can look the other person in the eye with a tenderness that heals and says, ‘Come, dance with me’.