"Let us pray to the Lord (Gracious God, Kind and Loving Father) who bends close to hear our prayer; Father your love for us surpasses all our hopes and desires...The hand of your loving kindness powerfully yet gently guides all the moments of our day....You guard us under the shadow of your wings, and search into the depths of our hearts....Your goodness is what our spirit can touch, and your love is more than the mind can bare. Lead us to seek beyond our reach and give us the courage to stand before you truth. Remove the blindness that cannot know You and relieve the fear that would hide us from you sight."
Did I make up that prayer? I wish I had that depth of relationship to be able to express the heartfelt wisdom the above words enunciate. The wisdom expressed is a gift presented to you and I, through the opening prayers of the 27th-29th Sundays of Ordinary Time. The opening prayer, the collect, reveals to us the theology that will be revealed, or hidden in the celebration to be entered into. That is why liturgy is righty called, "the work of the people". It takes work, it takes effort, it takes a sense of real presence on our part, to connect with The Presence. The Presence comes to us both hidden and revealed in The Sacrament of Word, Sacrifice, and Sacrament. We have to be in, not at, each celebration. There are times we are just there. There is no connection. There is no connection with anything that is happening, or with anybody around us. This is when we really need the community of faith. Why? Simply there will be others suffering with us in our disconnectedness. There will be others so connected they will be able to draw that something out of us, that was present but so hidden, so inundated with the trials and challenges of life. It takes that something that happens in the gathering which breaks down that which confines, and binds us. From each celebration we will be given what we need not what we want.
Many, many times the gift given is not obvious. It is not apparent at first glance. The hidden gifts, that wonder-full wisdom, the great challenges, are revealed to us through reflection, and ONLY through reflection. Silent reflection allows us slowly and gently to be drawn into the mystery of who we are, and who our God is. As we come to embrace All of who we are, the good and the bad, we will be drawn into a deeper understanding of the vastness of the Mystery, which is our origin and destiny. We are able to gradually become more and more comfortable with who we are as spiritual beings having a human experience.
In the above prayer we are words comforted with the words acknowledging our God bends close to hear our prayer. Ever reflect on what that really means? How so very human that image is? How often we have seen a concerned parent not only listens to the concern of their child, but will get down on their knees, look into the troubled face of their child. They give the child the gift of their caring presence to assuage whatever their fears and concerns are. It even gets better when warm, heartfelt hugs are exchanged. In every moment that dynamic is what is part and parcel of our relationship with our Mother/Father God. We are strengthened so that when we encounter words like fear, blindness, we also have words of encouragement like “loving kindness", and "goodness". If we are in the shadow of God's wings, then where is our God? These words, on reflection, will trigger the beginnings of a desire not only to be able to believe in the truth expressed, but there will come moments when we will want to experience that reality in our daily living. There is that spiritual principle, 'We become what we desire". It will happen not in the way we want, or expect, it will come in the way that Our Loving Father knows that is BEST for us. There is a whale of a difference between the two. We are always becoming reconciled with what God knows we need and what we want. We must also keep before us, "Be careful what you pray for".
We will slowly get connected with what has to this point been a secret, untapped strength. Now that changes. We will come to a deeper understanding of the mysterious, supernatural gift we call HOPE.
Until next week, blessings to and on all.....
The wondering wanderer