Working underground

Many years ago I was given a crucifix, hand-carved by Meinrad Craighead when she was a member of the Benedictine Community at Stanbrook Abbey in Worcester. The squat figure of Christ has hands and feet like those of a mole and seems to be digging its way up toward the light. I think of it as the Underground Christ. I keep it near my bed.

The mole is a remarkable creature. Small and nearly blind, it demonstrates such surprising strength and tenacity. It can move as much as ten pounds of soil upwards in twenty minutes – which is about fifty times its bodyweight, and the equivalent of a twelve stone miner moving four tons of earth in twenty minutes. And the mole has not only to dig the soil but then push it upwards towards the surface.

In the same way the task facing each of us is that of climbing upwards towards greater consciousness. It is often a painful, costly and laborious task, and like the mole we cannot see what we are doing but simply follow an innate impulse within us. All we can do is keep digging away, removing the dark layers of selfishness and self-centredness, knowing that one day we shall emerge into the light.

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