Via Negativa

Sunday, 22 March in the season of Lent

My God, my God, why have I forsaken You? Why have Your words, echoed through the ancient and holy Church, turned to babel in my ears? Why has my heart turned to stone? Did You harden it, as You hardened the heart of Pharaoh, for some mysterious purpose I cannot know? Why has apathy taken root in my soul?

What happened to my pathy?

Zeal for Your house once consumed me. But I fear that consummation is now complete, and there is not much left of me. Once I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Now I prefer a small room, quiet and alone, with a window looking out on the world.

I said so many things in the old days. Uttered so many words in Your name. There was goodness in the words and I do not regret them. But the sin of presumption is in every word spoken about You. And that sin weighs heavily on me. A scarlet letter A has affixed itself before the words that come to my lips now.

apophatic apathetic atypical askew agnostic

There has been a turning in me. I am dwelling in a new place now.

If I make my bed along the Via Negativa, will you be there?


  • Larry Piper

    Gah! I thought it was just me. My Lenten prayer practice this year has been a total disaster, which is one reason none of it is published this year. As my friend, Roy, used to say on my prayer blog in past years, “thanks for this”.

  • Colette

    I was so sad that you weren’t writing for so many years. Then you come back and what you have to say is just as great as the RLP heyday.

    This is the first year in…my whole life? that I’ve done jack squat for Lent. It feels great. I started meditating instead. I’d wish people would stop looking baffled when I explain that all I want out of a church service is some time to light a few candles, sing a song, sit in silence, and be happy that I’m alive.

    Peace and pathy to you, Gordon.

    • Gordon Atkinson

      Try a Quaker meeting. I love attending.