Time is an ever present enemy robbing me of the blessing of reflection. I sit here now in the early hours as a new dawn breaks in, listening to the rising crescendo of birdsong. The creator’s choristers piping in the light, celebrating the defeat of darkness once again. It is such a joyful time of day.

I recently came across a brilliant aide to creative reflection. This was in the form of a poem by John O’Donohue, one of God’s special friends who departed for heaven too soon for us, yet I am sure not soon enough for him. Now his bardic musings fill the panoply of the heavens – our loss is The-place-of-self-reflection-80x120cmeternity’s gain.

In his book, ‘Benedictus. A Book of Blessings‘, There is a poem entitled simply, ‘At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions‘. I have found it a brilliant discipline recently, when exploring my feelings and God’s heart around a deep disappointment, to allow these questions to shape my journey of dialogue with God. I commend it to you as just such a model that guides reflection and leads the enquirer on a journey home with God.

What dreams did I create last night?

Where did my eyes linger today?

Where was I blind?

Where was I hurt without anyone noticing?
What did I learn today?

What did I read?

What new thoughts visited me?

What differences did I notice in those closest to me? Whom did I neglect?

Where did I neglect myself?

What did I begin today that might endure?

How were my conversations?

What did I do today for the poor and the excluded?

Did I remember the dead today?

Where could I have exposed myself to the risk of something different?

Where did I allow myself to receive love?

With whom today did I feel the most myself?

What reached me today? How deep did it imprint?

Who saw me today?

What visitations had I from the past and from the future?

What did I avoid today?

From the evidence, why was I given this day?
I suggest this is an excellent meditation for a quiet day, away from the hurly burly of everyday life. It is something I will use both for myself and for those who seek rest and reflection within the sanctity of St Cuthbert’s Oratory. It is a suitable guide for times of reflection.