April 6, 2013
Sabbath moments are those times when we encounter God in rest or in the ordinary times of our lives when we lift our hearts up to Him or experience His presence as we go about our daily work. Join us at Colleen’s blog, Thoughts on Grace, to connect to other bloggers and read their Sabbath Moments.
Rain, rain, rain, keep coming!
Normally I associate Easter with fresh spring breezes, sunshine, birds chirping, etc. However, this year Holy Week and a few days this week were wet, cold, and a little snowy. That’s great. The Lord is slowly resolving the drought of the past several years. All those prayers are being answered. The few sunny and mild days sandwiched between the rain have, by contrast, been all that more precious. In any case, a certain restfulness has permeated the Easter season this year. We are looking forward to getting veggies into the ground and letting God do more of the watering this year.
Waking up early and lying in bed pondering things of God is a luxury of old age and compensation for not being able to gad about as in my younger, much more thoughtless years. Pope Francis gave us many ponderables in his sermons over the past couple of weeks which formed the subject of my morning prayer time and a few blog posts, too.
I’ve been reading Esther de Waal’s Living With Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality which is rich with meditation subjects. I like spiritual books that one can pick up, read a little, and then put down until next time. The thinking time between reading brings many Sabbath moments.
Simplicity in prayer
Meditation #146 today from Divine Intimacy was on prayer. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. wrote some basic observations that I always find help me refocus on the simplicity of prayer. No matter how many times I read these meditations, I always gain something new.
“For me,” said St. Therese of the Child Jesus, “prayer is an uplifting of the heart, a glance toward heaven, a cry of gratitude and of love in times of sorrow as well as of joy” (Story of a Soul, 11). In this perspective we must understand the traditional definition of prayer: elevation mentis ad Deum, the raising of the mind to God, and not only the mind, but also, and especially, the heart. Prayer may be a silent movement of the mind, or simply a cry, a request, a colloquy; in these latter motions are verified the other aspects of prayer,…a pious conversation with God, and…a confident request for His graces.
Whatever form it takes, true prayer is not complicated or constrained; it is the breath of the soul that loves its God, the habitual attitude of the heart which tends toward God. The soul seeks Him, wants to live with Him, knows that every benefit, every help, comes from Him. Thus, spontaneously, without even thinking about it, the soul passes from the simple elevation toward God to the prayer of petition or to intimate colloquy, to arrive finally at the transport of the heart, the glance toward heaven.
Prayer understood in this way is always possible, in all kinds of circumstances and in the midst of varying occupations; furthermore, for a soul who really loves God, it would be as impossible for it to interrupt prayer as it would be for it to stop breathing.
To get to this point we, with or without words, must ask God for the grace to live this way. It is actually a grace to even want to do it. On the surface it seems an impossibility to reach this goal, and, if it were up to us alone, a definite impossibility. But knowing that God desires this intimacy with us, we can be confident that He will make it happen with our cooperation. The minute we think that our own doing alone will get us there, we are sunk.
Praying always is a habit, and we might also say, a state of being. It makes even the most mundane tasks endurable and sanctifying. For instance, you can’t get more mundane than picking up dog poop in the yard. My husband takes care of this most of the time, but I sometimes do it. While my first reaction is, “Yuck,” God takes over. My prayer seems to jump right out of my heart:
Thank You, Lord, for the ability to do this. Thank You, Lord, for Francie. We are so blessed to have her as a companion. You know the laughs she gives us and the affection we prize from her. This is such a little thing to do for such a great gift. Lord, provide for us as we provide for Francie with Your help…
The sun sure feels good today, Lord. Thanks for its healing rays. Thanks for our yard and the places to grow veggies. Thanks for good neighbors and please bless them. Bless our not so good neighbors, especially the drunk next door. He really needs your help and so does his family. Thanks for Your love and attention to our needs…
And on it goes. Ordinary people might think these prayers are stupid, but I know that God wants to hear from me and since He is the one who set our lives in motion to include the ordinary as a big chunk of our existence, I figure there’s no point in wasting all that valuable time worrying about stuff I can’t do anything about and instead spend it with Him. What about you?
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R. Now and forever!
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