Consider the Wallaby, Yes the funny looking miniature kangaroo
The one who visited me in my dreamtime
As I was preparing this reflection piece on silence.
I was practicing silence, when this critter shows up.
Why do you hop into my silent space …
Disturbing my peace … Fixing a stare into my eyes?
Why a Wallaby, you might ask? What is its dream message?
Yes, dream message. I always encourage my spiritual directees
To listen to their dream messengers of the spiritual.
Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions;
And attend to them with the ear of your heart.
The opening lines in the Rule of St. Benedict.
I came to this silence seeking you. I come seeking
Divine Manifestations in the Epiphany time.
I await for the Christ to awaken in me.
I come to take possession of what is already mine
As Frs. Keating and Merton describe:
“To become who we already are.”
“Through the Incarnation of His Son,
God floods the whole human family
Past, present and yet to come—
With His majesty, dignity, and grace.
Christ dwells in us in a mysterious, but real way.
I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”
So, I come in stillness and silence,
I am letting my thoughts flow like a river
I am on the river bank watching them go by.
I am still, and waiting patiently for Him.
As the Psalmist says: Be still and wait
Patiently for the Lord.
Then this Wallaby hops into my silence.
He hops along the river bank …
He stops in front of me and STARES
He stares deep into my eyes.
It unnerves me, it makes me unsilent …
What are you doing here?
I wait for the Lord and I get a Wallaby??
Maybe you are a creature messenger;
Like Jonah’s Whale or Balaam’s Ass.
What … have … you … to …say … to me?
I am determined now…
She stands there and STARES …
Without a word from her
I start to associate her meaning.
I move to an interpreter’s ego-stance.
She hops and does not walk steadily.
Maybe I am hopping around too much,
Or should I get hopping?
She carries her “joey” in her pouch.
Maybe something is birthed in my soul
Am I quietly nurturing something?
She can not move backwards
She can only hop forward.
No going back, only forward?
Maybe I am trying to hard
To guess the meaning of this Wallaby.
She neither confirms nor comments, just STARES
Stares into my eyes, into my own eyes.
Oh, wait, she is looking to me into me
To see something deeper within.
Maybe she is no bearer of a message
No external meaning that I should decode.
That truly maybe her mystery.
She comes with nothing to say, but just to stare
Not a familiar beast, but a mystery.
Is she coming to see the Christ in me?
I chanted earlier the words of St. Paul.
“I live no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”
Has she come to see the Christ in me?
Oh, the unsettling silence, the ego-shattering awareness,
No interpretation, no rationalizations, no affective surge.
Just be still and know that I am God.
With that the Wallaby closes her eyes …
Bows her head, hops a turn æ
And bounces down along the riverbed.
Reflection by Steven E. Liechti, Benedictine Oblate, Jan 13–14, 2013