Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breath....The Invitation

We have been offered and accepted a new spirit for the new life that is now ours. One person told me she lost a husband and a son. Her prayer is for the spirit she needs to be a woman of her age, who has lost a husband and a son. Her prayer is not the prayer of a woman who is blessed with a husband and a son, and maybe grandchildren.

The prayer of a newly married couple is a prayer for the spirit they need to face the challenges of the first years of married life. They have to struggle through the process "form, storm, norm and perform". They will have to accept the fact that their relationship is always part of an ongoing process. The spirit requested by a couple that are five years together is not that of a couple who have been married for 15, 20 or more years.

The prayer of a couple who has lost a child or children is not the prayer of a couple who has a child or children. The prayer of a widow or widower is for a unique spirit for their unique lifestyle. The prayer of a blended family is also a unique prayer as they pray for the spirit to strengthen them. To strengthen them as they have to struggle with the ongoing process of "form, storm, norm and perform". This struggle is always going to be at an everdeepening level.

God gives us His particular grace in each of our unique situations. The different stages of the single life also demand a unique prayer for a unique spiritual experience. The emptiness, the aloneness of the single life must be recognized and owned. When this does not happen, we can so easily lose our way and end up in places we would prefer to avoid.

God's love for us is particular, passionate and persistent. His love is always being offered, we must welcome that Creative Love into the place of our woundedness, into the place of our brokenness, into our aloneness. We have been given the power to invite and allow God to transform what is in the painful place of loneliness into the consoling presence of solitude.

Thomas Merton had the following to say, "Surrender your poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, His presence in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon."

What we also have to remind ourselves that we have been given the power, the free-will, to deny ourselves hope and consolation. What a double-edged sword freedom is! We must remind ourselves again and again that we have to make a choice between life and death, hope and despair, fear and faith. The choice is an every moment choice, it is here and now.

All this leads us to the opening prayer of Easter Sunday liturgy when we prayed, "Send Your Spirit, into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, by the flame of Your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing Your praise beyond the farthest reach, for without Your Spirit humankind could never raise its voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord."

The prayer of Pentecost is asking the Spirit to be sent into our lives. It is an invitation. Because God, out of love, respects our free-will. He, like the great lover He is, awaits our invitation. We must know who is it that we are inviting. Why the invitation is being offered. What we are inviting Him to do. He is God, all-powerfull, all-knowing and all-loving. These are just some of His qualities. One saint encourages and paraphrasing here, when we pray to God, we pray for big stuff so as not to insult His dignity.

We then ask Him for help in the places we are helpless. We ask Him to come and reveal love in the places we ourselves can find no love and are powerless to love. We ask for His loving compassionate wisdom to understand how it is He can make all things work together. He makes all things work together, so we who believe, can be brought to joy and hope. We are asking for a new way of acting so we can be strengthened to commit ourselves to a new way of thinking. We pray that we may be strengthened to see that our lives are reflecting all that happened to Jesus Christ as He was, so we are. We are now His living presence. A living presence that comes to us only when we too have surrendered, died and allowed a new spirit to live within us. This then is a new creation, that is happening and will continue to evolve because we are graced. It will continue as long as we allow ourselves to be loved. The transformation will continue until one day, we too can say with St. Paul, "I live, no not I, it is Christ who lives within me". The dream of The Dreamer IS being realized. We are everdeepening our participation in that dream, but there is a choice to be made. The choice is being made right now.

The following prayer is from The Liturgy of the Hours,

Breath on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love the things you love,
and do what you would do.

Breath on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with you I have one will,
To live and to endure.

Breath on me, breath of God,
My soul with grace refined,
Until this earthly part of me,
Glows with your fire devine.

Breath on me, breath of God,
So I shall never die,
But live with you the perfect life,
In Your eternity.

The dreamer’s journey continues…