From our monastery we look out towards the Black Mountains and the Brecons. They are a constant reminder that in scripture mountains are a privileged meeting-place between God and humankind. Today Isaiah 11 speaks of the holy mountain on which no hurt or harm will be done. It is a messianic vision, we say, pausing only to pull out our concordances and commentaries to extract every little nuance of meaning we can from the text. It is a prophecy of the end times, not really meant for here and now.
How wrong can we be! The holy mountain on which no hurt or harm is done should be the ground we tread every day of our lives. God wants to be known and loved now, not just hereafter. If we feel there is some block to this knowing, something that hinders us, we need to look at it and be prepared to change. We can be people of integrity, as Isaiah says. We can be ‘filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters swell the sea’ — if we wish. That is the crux of the matter. What do we really want? During this Year of Consecrated Life many people will be challenged to answer that question in a way they never thought possible, but it isn’t a question just for religious or clergy but every one of us. We are all called to know the promise of the gospel (Luke 10.21-24), all called to know the Lord.